SMART project provides new computer lab
January 17, 2014

SMART project provides new computer lab

The students at the Division of Technical and Vocational Education (DTVE) of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) now have at their disposal a state-of-the-art computer lab.{{more}}

The new facility was officially opened on Tuesday, and is the third and most significant donation of equipment under the $1,698,998 SMART project, which was signed with telecommunications provider LIME in 2012.

According to Kyron Duncan, the Universal Service Fund administrator at the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC), early in 2012, the NTRC made a decision to develop a multi-faceted project aimed at providing the necessary hardware and software to the SVGCC to enable the institution to offer existing courses and programmes online and in real time.

Duncan explained that the project will also facilitate the offering of two new tertiary level programmes at the SVGCC – a certificate programme in application development and an Associate Degree programme in cyber security, both expected to begin next semester.

“When developing the SMART project, we at the NTRC identified the need for students to have access to specialised computers with various software to assist in programming and designing courses,” Duncan said.

The computer lab comprises 35 computers, 15 of which are 27-inch iMacs and 20 are Lenovo desktops.

The computers come loaded with specialized software, including Visual Studio, AutoCAD for Mac, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Creative Suite 6 and X Code to aid students in application development and audio-visual production, the USF project officer said.

Overall, according to Duncan, it cost $334,137 to renovate and equip the IT lab, bringing the total value of equipment handed over so far under the SMART project to $607,223.

Nigel Scott, the deputy director of the SVGCC, said that during these challenging economic times, it is necessary to develop people so that they become not just consumers, but producers.

“The education we provide must prepare our students for employment, as well as to be employers – this must include the ability to develop their own forms of employment and to be part of the productive and creative sectors of our economy,” Scott said.

He said he expected that the SMART project would do just that.

“This lab will catapult the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College into the 21st Century and beyond,” he said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, Commerce and IT Senator Camillo Gonsalves, during the feature presentation, said that Vincentians are primarily consumers of digital content.

According to the minister, the applications that we often use were designed somewhere else and the profits are going abroad.

“All of us here go online, we have access to the Internet and we consume information,” he said.

So, there is a digital content deficit in the country, Gonsalves explained.

But if we were seeking to become a modern society, that deficit needed to be reversed, Gonsalves said.

“This (the project) is the beginning of the attempt to address and redress the digital content deficit,” he said. (DD)