…as teleconferencing equipment commissioned
The delivery of education at the University of Guyana (UG) will be transformed with the addition of teleconferencing equipment at the Turkeyen, Georgetown and Tain, Corentyne, Berbice campuses.
The equipment was a donation from Huawei Technologies in 2013. As part of the Technical Co-operation between the University and the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, the equipment was installed at both the Turkeyen and Tain campuses.
As a result, during yesterday’s commissioning of the equipment, staff and students of the Tain campus could have participated in the ceremony that was held in the Centre for Information Technology on the Turkeyen campus.
There were two screens, one dedicated to showing the video feed from Tain, the other showing what was happening at Turkeyen.
Delivering remarks was the Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, who said that together with UG, her Ministry is committed to bringing more connectivity to the campuses, the Institute of Distant and Continuing Education (IDCE) and most importantly the Cyril Potter College of Education.
From a macro perspective, Hughes said that the teleconferencing suite is one more step in the march towards creating a higher level of digital connectivity for all citizens of Guyana.
“Where we are hoping to take Guyana as a country means that we want to ensure that we can provide as a government—more and more digital services online. It means that things as simple as registering a birth, applying for a passport, applying for a driver’s license and even applying for a company, are things that we think can be done with greater efficiency and in a minimum of time if we do it all online.”
She said that it has been recognised that technology across the world is moving rapidly and Guyana is lagging behind. The Minister said that she is excited at the prospect of Guyana being able to catch up.
She said that the equipment commissioned yesterday, has a very important role to play in terms of how people are able to connect locations that are not specifically close to each other.
Hughes explained that initially, any person wishing to pursue a course offered only at the Turkeyen campus, would have had to consider travelling all the way to the East Coast of Demerara to participate in the classroom.
“With the use of technology, we recognise that we can connect distant locations and that of course makes it easy for individuals, for students, for teachers for whoever it is in our society, in our communities, to be able to connect.”
According to Hughes, together with CIT staff at UG and staff at the eGovernment unit of the Ministry, the project is a success. She reported that the eGovernment Unit has since connected 84 high schools, starting with their computer labs, staffrooms and administrative blocks.
In addition to the High Schools, Hughes said that 20 different educational institutions have been connected, among them the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA) and CPCE among others.
Also delivering remarks was UG’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Ivelaw Griffith, who said that the installation of the equipment is not only a renewal of Government’s commitment about the importance of using technology to improve lives, but it is tangible demonstration of that commitment.
Also present at the event was Chairman of the NDMA, Floyd Levi. Levi said that both fibre optic and microwave technologies are being used to connect the campuses.
He said that the system does not only connect the two campuses but also connects with systems overseas. Levi explained that classes at the two campuses can be attended by students in other parts of Guyana using similar equipment.
Regarding the programmes that this equipment and service will be first utilised, Griffith said that the University is currently working on setting up a School of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation. He said that part of that programme is to offer online content and therefore the teleconferencing platform and much more will be necessary.
Further, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement (PACE), Dr Paloma Mohamed, said that there is a major research project that UG is participating in that involves 20 researchers from around the world.
She said that in the past, to connect those individuals, has been a challenge since they are all in different places. However, with this new system, the situation will be helped. She added that the University is actively pursuing a Masters in Psychology in January 2018 and because of the highly specialised nature of that programme, it is expected that the teleconferencing equipment will be used to connect lecturers into Guyanese classrooms.
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