Sat | Dec 14, 2019

Government gunning to boost technology use in the public space

Published:Monday | November 18, 2019 | 12:11 AM

Science, Energy and Technology Energy Minister Fayval Williams says the Government is moving towards utilising more technology in the dispensation of services in the public space.

Williams was speaking at a technology exposition where some 100 secondary-level students were hosted by the Canadian University Services Overseas inside the Wolmer’s Boys’ School auditorium in Kingston last Thursday.

“So many of us take connecting to the Internet for granted. We are accustomed to going online, but for many persons in Jamaica, connectivity to the Internet is still a luxury. We are cognisant that science, technology and innovation are crucial to our growth and our development and, as such, we are contemplating several initiatives aimed at bridging the digital divide, promoting digital skills and increasing connectivity,” Williams said.

“At the ministry, we are providing ICT (information and communications technology)-related training to 600 unattached young people through our technology advancement programme and these will be young people who have already left school,” she said.

“We are increasing connectivity across the island with our public Wi-Fi hotspot community Internet facilities. We also support young ICT entrepreneurs who seek to solve problems through technology and for which we have earmarked some funds. We are promising to power up technology to enable the efficiency of government services and increasing the ease of doing business for our people and investors,” she added.

However, Williams did not give a timeline for when those initiatives would be rolled out.

The students involved were drawn from the Wolmer’s Boys’ and Girls’ schools, Ardenne High, Camperdown High, the Rise Life Management Centre, the Young Women’s Christian Association and the Women’s Centre Foundation of Jamaica.

They were given mini courses in social, creative and other aspects of robotics, in addition to classes in coding.

Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Laurie Peters encouraged the students to “soak up technology like a sponge”, as they stood to benefit in the future from the skills learnt.

“What we know is that digital skills and what we know as coding are being used to solve problems worldwide at every sector and at every level,” Peters said.