Education focus for Hackathon 2020

─participants laud the opportunities the two-day event presents

Prime Minister Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, today, lauded the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to meet the needs of the education sector, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. He made these statements in his feature address at the launch of Hackathon 2020, which is themed “Digitising our education system for 2020 and beyond.”  

Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips delivers his address at the launch of Hackathon 2020

Twenty-one teams are competing to create a practical student records application that the Ministry of Education could use to digitise its registration and records system.

The Prime Minister said the relevance of ICT could not be overlooked as it has helped in the delivery of education, in keeping businesses open and to keep people safe during the pandemic.

He added: “Our education system is at the top of our priority list… It is imperative, now more than ever, that we focus our attention on providing solutions to this unforeseen [COVID-19] crisis that has shifted the way we operate.”

To this end, the Government, through the Industry of Innovation Unit (IIU), which falls within the Prime Minister’s purview, is committed to transform Guyana into a nation that is prepared to tackle challenges through the use of ICT.

The Government, he said, is “committed to develop an ICT-equipped society by continuing to create technology solutions that will position Guyana to cope with the ever-changing ICT landscape and assist in addressing national issues, and ultimately create novel ICT employment and other opportunities for Guyanese.”

Consequently, he said, “The onus is, therefore, on us to provide the much-needed support to our teachers and students as we work towards creating a bright future for all Guyanese.”

Meanwhile, Director of the IIU, Mr. Shahrukh Hussain said the Hackathon seeks to, “use ICT as a solution to make learning easier for all of the students of Guyana.”

In addition, Mr. Dwight Fergusson of the Office of the Prime Minister, in his overview said the teams are, at minimum, expected to create applications with the following features:

  • Registration feature to capture student bio-data
  • input of medical information as per Ministry of Education Form
  • attendance, absence, lateness
  • record of issuance of books and material
  • entering of test scores

First time participants laud event

Miss Samira Duncan and Mr. Shamar Williams are two of the participants who will be battling on separate teams for the top prize. Speaking with DPI, they both said the Hackathon provides excellent opportunities for ICT professionals.

“They are really trying to bring Guyana into the 21st century so we can get rid of all the paper waste. It would be easier for students to get information. They will be able to get their work faster,” said Ms. Duncan, who is tasked with design and presentation of the programme for Team Orbital.

Mr. Williams, of Team Frame Perfect, said the event will be the platform to display his team’s talent while addressing the needs of the country.

He said his diverse team will, “target specific things that will make situations unique and solve unique problems.” His team will work on the frontend of the programme that addresses user experience.

The first, second and third placed teams will receive $500,000, $350,000 and $250,000, respectively. The Hackathon runs from December 5-7 at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.


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