Public Telecom Ministry and ITU team up to raise awareness about cyber security

DPI/GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Even though the country is still working towards universal access to the internet, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications is taking steps to educate especially students, on the ills that come with that connectivity.

The ministry has teamed up with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to host a two-day workshop on the role of education in cyber security.  The workshop opened today at the North Ruimveldt Multilateral School. The workshop is being facilitated by Dr. Kay Xuereb a visiting scholar from University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Education.

Minister of Public Telecommunication Catherine Hughes addressing the cyber-security workshop at the North Ruimveldt Secondary School

Addressing the participants, Minister Catherine Hughes sought to reinforce the need for educators to protect students and the education system from the dangers lurking on the internet.

“Whether you are their parents or guardians, their teachers, instructors, headmistresses or counsellors or headmaster, there is no difference in the role that is required of us as adults,” the minister said.

“We have to do whatever it takes to make them ever so conscious of the possibilities lurking behind their cellphones, and their computer screens. We have to teach them to be cautious, when talking to people they do not know and even with people they think they know and we have to teach them how to deal with online bullies,” the minister added.

She assured that in pushing forward with the Public Telecommunications Ministry’s vision of ensuring greater internet access for all Guyanese, that measures will be put in place to ensure the nation’s safety from cyber security threat.  “Our awareness intention is to turn Guyana’s population into a digitally competent one, which is uncompromising on safety, and the responsibilities that we have to guarantee that we ensure that everyone is able to enjoy the benefit of the internet, while keeping our self-safe,” the minister said.

Some countries recently began observing cyber security awareness month in October. The minister also advocated that Guyana supports and participate in this initiative.

Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer (CEO,) Ministry of Education, Marcel Hudson lauded the workshop’s timeliness, given his ministry’s renewed effort to integrate Information Communication Technology into the school system.

“There was a time when the school system had no internet connection, now many schools are connected and we have laboratories, where our

Chief Education Officer (CEO,) Ministry of Education, Marcel Hudson addressing the cyber-security workshop at the North Ruimveldt Secondary School

children can go and work. We also have tablets being distributed to our children. So clearly we can see our children are now exposed to the internet and because of this exposure one of the things that we have to be mindful and careful of, is how we treat with our children as they are exposed to the internet,” Hudson said.

The two-day workshop covers areas such as preventing school cyber bullying and cyber security and school management issues. Whilst day one focuses on training education officials including secondary school principals and Information Technology (IT) teachers. Day Two will target parents, guardians, student representatives and school counsellors.

Dr. Kay Xuereb who will be taking the participants through the sessions has worked as a teacher with special responsibility for Mathematics and Information Technology and the cyber security system for Oxfordshire school cluster in the United Kingdom. She has also developed the national Information Technology in Education Business Plan for Malta including cyber awareness and cyber security as well as significantly contributing to the development of the First National Information Communication Technology (ICT) Policy in Malta.

 

By: Macalia Santos

Educational officials at the cyber-security workshop at the North Ruimveldt Secondary School

 

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