The Ministry of Public Telecommunications on Friday launched its 98th Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Hub at Mocha/Arcadia on the East Bank Demerara.
Speaking at the launching, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Cathy Hughes noted that the 20 workstations and free internet access being provided to the community offer opportunities to a wide variety of residents including students and entrepreneurs.
Students, she explained, can benefit from access to the research capabilities of the internet as well as the learning options made available through software loaded onto the laptops provided.
The Minister noted that those students studying for the Grade 6 Examinations will in two weeks be able to access software which includes hundreds of practice questions for Mathematics while CSEC students will be able to access over 10,000 questions in various subject areas. Entrepreneurs will be able to access assistance from onsite volunteers to build and monitor various online marketing tools such as a Facebook page dedicated to their business or service.
These, the Minister argued are all “opportunities to change, to grow and enjoy the good life.” She explained that the Ministry is aiming to complete the setup of a total of 200 hubs by next year.
Director of the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) Phillip Walcott told the community that they should celebrate their achievement noting that some communities are two years into the process and still not able to launch a completed hub.
He explained that the Ministry is interested not just in establishing but in maintaining them therefore they will be returning to the community to roll out several training programmes later this year.
The programmes are expected to focus on three aspects of the hub. These are the training of the monitoring and management committee in basic managing of equipment, management of volunteers as well as training in various online programmes.
He noted that some hubs cease to function for simple reasons such as a person plugging a wire into the wrong socket.
“Sometimes all it needed was rebooting,” he said noting that the aim is to equip each hub to achieve efficiency. Chairman of the Management Committee, Barbara Joyce explained that the hub has been established to help villagers to use technology successfully to develop
themselves. It is designed to offer services to the young and old by providing a modern work space so that they can turn their ideas into successful businesses. It also intends to give students an opportunity to achieve A grades in assignments and help the community as a whole save on travel cost and time when accessing information.
It will offer online services such as e-marketing and housing applications. Presently the hub has 20 laptops and 12 volunteers who will manage and monitor operations but help from those with expertise is needed for the provision of computer training classes.