Cable & Wireless joins literacy crusade in SVG
September 16, 2005

Cable & Wireless joins literacy crusade in SVG

The Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Cable & Wireless signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday, September 12.

The EC$6 million pilot programme is designed to take Vincentians “across the digital divide.”

The programme will see the installation of 2400 Max workstations and high speed internet at 80 primary schools, learning resource centers and libraries across the country. {{more}}

According to Minister of Telecommunications, Dr. Jerrol Thompson, the partnership between the government and Cable and Wireless takes the Education Revolution to “a new level.” Speaking at the launch of the programme, held at the French Verandah Restaurant, the Minister admitted that he had an “extra skip in his step” that morning, not only because of the signing of the memorandum, but because the previous night, his political party, the Unity Labour Party (ULP) had held a very successful rally in his constituency.

The programme will be funded by Government, and Cable and Wireless will provide broadband connectivity for the 24000 workstations, to be provided by manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Cable & Wireless will also play a leading role in creating, installing and maintaining the infrastructure.

The Max units are scaled down computers which are designed specifically for accessing the internet. They also allow users to use email, messaging, spreadsheet and word processing. They are designed to be less susceptible to viruses and other risks to standard computers.

The goal of the programme is to support the objectives of the national literacy crusade to increase literacy amongst the population.

Special educational software designed by Emtooco Inc. will be deployed along with the Max computers. Emtooco will also be developing textbooks and videos for the ICT-Driven Literacy programme.

Paul Aspin, Executive Vice-President of Cable & Wireless East commended the government on

the programme, saying “there is no other state

in the world… where a cabinet, led by its Prime Minister, has made such a bold statement in terms of what is needed to bring its people across the great divide, the

digital divide into the 21st century.”

Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves during his turn at the podium praised the Max, saying that if a “techno-peasant” like him could use it, anyone could. He said he had been using the Max for the last several months at his official residence. “I get up at 4:30 a.m. and get on it and read newspapers all over the world. The children use it to access all sorts of information. It is very durable.”

According to the Prime Minister, the first centre should be up and running by February next year, as there is a lot of preparatory work to be done. He said, “we have to flesh out the contract with Cable & Wireless now that the memorandum of understanding has been signed.”

The launch was also addressed by Minister of Education, the Hon. Clayton Burgin, Daryl Jackson, Chief Executive, Cable & Wireless, a representative of AMD, and Dr. Didacus Jules who gave the Vote of Thanks.