ICT Week: Information Technology Integral to Development
Basseterre, St. Kitts — Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Christopher Herbert, believes that Information Communication Technology (ICT) is at the heart of the nation’s development and is happy that ICT week, held in St. Kitts, September 22-26 reflected that importance.
Developmental ICT policy was one of the key aspects of the week of activities, which was aimed at enhancing the knowledge and understanding of key stakeholders in national development on the role that ICT plays in the growth of the Federation.
“We have very bright plans with regards to what can be accomplished here in St. Kitts for ICT development,” said Mr. Herbert. “We felt that a policy crafting workshop was necessary to bring some of the key stakeholders together to get an understanding of what we will be inviting them to be a part of. We also have to get a good understanding of what they want to accomplish so that we can provide some guidance as to how ICTs can play a role in that.”
He gave examples for ICT developments in areas like Education, where the policy on the One-to-One-Laptop Project can be expanded to realize more deliberate educational use of the equipment by students as well as parents and teachers. With regards to Agriculture, Herbert expects to see more expert systems in place to facilitate enhanced efficiency among farming and production practices.
The department also seeks to bridge the divides that exist among groups such as the elderly and the disabled.
“What we have now is a digital divide with regards to persons who can access technology and play a role in using this technology to play a role in personal, community and national development,” Mr. Herbert indicated. “We noted that persons with disabilities were at an unfortunate disadvantage and may be utilizing technology without the awareness of tools that are tailored to make their experience easier. Our seniors as well are sometimes deemed unable to use these technologies. We want them to realize that they are as able as anyone else to access ICTs and make an important contribution to our nation.”
ICT Week is a Caribbean Telecommunications Unit (CTU) initiative, which is an organ of CARICOM, charged to provide leadership and coordinate ICT activities in the region. It included workshops in policy crafting, cyber security, as well as ICT for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.