By Stacy Carmichael-James
The Ministry of Public Telecommunications and the University of Guyana (UG) this afternoon created a stronger bond as the subject minister and the University’s Vice Chancellor signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “beef up” the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platform across the various campuses.
Minister Cathy Hughes said the aim is to better equip the University of Guyana (UG) and to provide broadband internet access, highlighting the struggle the facility has had over the years in providing this critical service.
“We have been able to use our E-Government network and to actually create a wireless fibre optic ring …and to connect the University onto the E-Government, fibre optic network…our focus is ensuring that as many locations within the University have wireless internet access at a level that facilitates proper productivity,” the Minister said.
The focus, Minister Hughes noted, is also to ensure that, in time, the Ministry along with the E-Gov Unit is able to equip with internet access, all the lecture theatres and some of the “hot spots” around the campus.
Facilitation of the interconnection of the Tain and Turkeyen campuses is currently ongoing and the Minister is hopeful that within the next two weeks a demonstration can be conducted. A video conferencing facility would also be handed over to UG, allowing interaction in “real time” with the campuses.
“The University of Guyana is very important to the development of Guyana and so we want to make sure that we are investing as much as possible and dealing with some of the challenges that we know the University faces,” she further noted. Commencing the process of better equipping the lecturers, 20 laptop computers were handed over to the tertiary facility.
According to Minister Hughes, Government is committed to upping the ante when it comes to ICT. Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith said the signing of the MOU marks an end to the tortuous longstanding battle by the University students. He said “technology enables us to extend the domain of our delivery of service and so it represents opportunities to go beyond where we are right now …part of what our university would soon be doing would be establishing a school of entrepreneurship and business innovation and we have to look beyond the coast, we got to look beyond Guyana to deliver those services.”
Meantime, Minister Hughes pointed out the work of the E-Gov Unit, which has thus far been able to connect some 101 High Schools and other educational institutions. And for those who cannot afford internet access in their homes, the Ministry along with E-Gov is looking to create as many ICT hubs possible.