Public Telecommunications Ministry pushes Guyana towards Modern Technological Age

DPI/GINA, Thursday, June 08, 2017

The Ministry of Public of Telecommunications continues to make a number of strides towards advancing Guyana into the modern technological age. Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes today highlighted some of the Ministry’s achievements at a Mid- Year Press conference.

From left- Phillip Walcott Director for Community Development and Social Management, , Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes and Presidential Advisor on eGovernment and Chairman of the National Data Management Unit Authority (NDMA), Floyd Levi

Minister Hughes said that since, “this Ministry of Public Telecommunications was established in January 2016, Guyana has made some remarkable strides that have put Guyana firmly on the road to national digital literacy”. Minister Hughes noted that every single afternoon pavilions and game rooms, in a number of communities, are usually full of people – school children and adults on their IPads, cellphones, laptops and other devices doing homework and surfing the web. This she noted is because the Ministry has installed Wi-Fi in many community centres.

The Minister revealed that the centres that have not already built their Information Communications Technology (ICT) hubs are now preparing to do so.  “When they are finished putting in their cubicles and electrics, they will set up the laptop computers that are being donated by the government for people to utilise free of cost”, she stated.  Making reference to the Good Hope Community Centre in Essequibo and Canje in Berbice, Wales in West Demerara and other communities.

Minister Hughes emphasised that everything that is being done at the Ministry is for the direct benefit of Guyanese citizens, “Whether we’re installing satellite dishes and equipment at the Skeldon Secondary School or the Essequibo Technical Institute, or whether we’re working with the residents of Good Hope village to transform their abandoned market into a community centre with a special section made into an ICT Hub.”

ICT Hubs and Public Internet Access programme

Minister Hughes stated that through the eGovernment Unit, it has established 55 ICT hubs across Guyana, of which more than 30 are operational. More than 98,000 citizens in Regions Two, three, Four, Five Six and Nine now enjoy free access to the worldwide web through the hubs. Some of these communities that have received connectivity are Masakenari in the Deep South Rupununi, good Hope community on the Essequibo Coast, Aishalton, Annai, Iwokrama, Paramakatoi and Lethem.

In addition, Minister said that the eGovernment Unit is providing free internet access to persons visiting government agencies and public institutions.

In the coming months training programmes will be rolled out in the respective communities so that persons who are not knowledgeable about computers and the internet will receive training, Director for Community Development and Social Management, Phillip Walcott said.

Educational Institutions’’ Connectivity Programme

Minister Hughes explained that to date, teachers and students at 86 secondary schools, 17 technical/vocational institutes, four Regional Education offices and the teachers training college, Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE) have been connected to the eGovernment platform. She added that free internet access has been provided to the computer rooms and administration blocks of these schools.

The Minister stated that the Ministry recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and established a fibre optic network around the University of Guyana’s campus to improve internet connectivity. This, Minister Hughes said, has greatly enhanced elearning and online training opportunities for all especially those in rural and hinterland communities. She added that the creation of ‘hotspots’ on the campus and a content filtering system for secondary schools has also been installed in collaboration with the Ministry of Education .

Presidential Advisor on eGovernment and Chairman of the National Data Management Unit Authority (NDMA), Floyd Levi, said that the agency has partnered with Digicel Guyana to extend the government’s network into communities that Digicel is already providing services to. These Communities include, Mabaruma, Port Kaituma, Matthews Ridge, Kwakwani, Bartica and Madhia.

The Ministry also showcased their new website, highlighting the Ministry of Public Telecommunications vision to develop a knowledge based and educated society which is globally competitive and productive, giving rise to the strategic placement of Guyana as the ICT hub in the region.

 

By: Gabreila Patram

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