Georgetown, Guyana – (June 2, 2018) As the Government continues to work to ensure that the gaps between the hinterland, riverine areas and coastland are bridged, Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, announced that for the first time in the village’s history, internet conenectivity will be available within two weeks at Lower Bonasika when he officially commissioned a computer laboratory for the students at the Lower Bonasika Primary School, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara (Region Three).
Addressing regional officials, residents, teachers and students, Minister Harmon noted that the computer laboratory, which is funded by the Region Three Private Sector Association (R3PSA), will assist and complement Government’s ongoing efforts to ensure that every citizen and more particularly, students, are able to access information and communication technology regardless of which part of the country they hail from.
“This complements our efforts through the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Public Telecommunications and the National Data Management Authority to modernise the education sector and to improve the delivery of education in our rural communities all across Guyana by making information and communications technology available in classrooms all across the country, through the development of smart classrooms, virtual classrooms, computer labs in the schools and E-libraries for distance education and e-learning. The promotion of science and information and communication technology within our education sector is a key pillar of our government’s development agenda,” he said.
Minister Harmon noted that President Granger, since his assumption to office, has been placing emphasis on bridging gaps, particularly in the delivery of education services nationwide and this had led to the establishment of the National Endowment for Science and Technology (NEST), from which 13 schools were able to benefit from $1million each to upgrade and boost their laboratories.
“To ensure that our educators, who have to implement this new programme in our education system were equipped, the One Laptop Per Teacher initiative was introduced by the President and under this initiative approximately 9000 laptops were distributed. Further, through the eGovernment Agency’s School’s Internet Connectivity Project, 12 Secondary and 27 Primary schools and four government agencies have been provided and 23 ICT hubs established in Region Three. These hubs will enable students without internet access at home to complete research, assignments and other school based activities free of cost,” the Minister of State said.
Minister Harmon noted that these interventions in the education sector as well as the community based initiatives and projects are testimony to the Government’s push to ensure that the skills needed in the country’s development are nurtured, developed and embedded in all levels of the education system and in all communities. “Our Government is acutely aware that the rapid and sustainable development of our country in the shortest possible time requires the active involvement of all citizens in a united, cohesive and collective effort. The intervention we see here today is, therefore, most welcomed,” he said.
Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Three, Mr. Denis Jaikaran, in his remarks, said that it is a happy day for the community as he noted that residents can see that development is taking place in their communities, no matter their geographic location.
“Many things are happening in this region. We are proud of what is happening in this region. Over the past three years, things that did not happen before as it relates to school and education facilities, we have seen tremendous progress. It is amazing to see what we have done over the past three years and we all owe those who are responsible for it in the Government our appreciation. The private sector is able to make this contribution because the economy is growing and this morning we are grateful that they are giving back. Giving back to the community is what we expect from them and we applaud them,” he noted.
However, Mr. Jaikaran noted that in any project that is undertaken by any agency, whether governmental or non-government, the beneficiaries have an equal and corresponding duty as it relates to the maintenance and sustenance of these projects and must therefore play their part. “Today as we witness the handing over of the lab, it becomes the responsibility of this community to ensure full sustainability and maintenance. You have an ample opportunity. Technology has come your way and you must take full advantage and in taking full advantage of that you have to ensure that security arrangements are put in place. The delivery of education is important and we need to take stock of that as we preserve what is given to us today,” the REO said.
President of the R3PSA, Mr. Radesh Rameshwar, in his remarks, said that the need for the computer laboratory was identified during the Easter holidays when the organisation visited the community for its kite distribution exercise. He too urged the residents to ensure that they utilise care now that the commitment has been realised.
“We have worked assiduously to ensure that we could have achieved the objective of giving you a computer laboratory and we would like to urge you to make full use of it and empower our children. As we all know, the world is technologically driven. We chose this area because we felt that far-flung areas did not receive a lot of attention and so we have decided that from now on, we will be targeting far-flung areas like Bonasika because we want you to know that you are not forgotten and in whatever way we can assist, we will help. We want you to maximise the use of these computers. If anything happens, if you need anything, let us know and we will take care of it. We will also provide the supplies, the ink and paper, etc. We are very conscious of our corporate social responsibility and because we are very serious about the development of Region Three and our country, we are taking our corporate social responsibility very seriously,” he said.
Headmaster of the school, Mr. Kapil Ramsamooj, said that laboratory will go a long way in assisting the students of the school. “These computers will serve all the levels of the school including the nursery, primary and secondary departments. This will help the students of the school to be computer literate and so we thank you for this contribution. We will make full use of it and you can be assured that we will take good care,” he said.
One of the school’s teachers, who did not want to be named, became emotional as she gave the vote of thanks as she noted that teachers, students and residents alike are all grateful for the laboratory and are eagerly awaiting internet connectivity as promised.
Deputy Superintendent of the Leonora Police Station, Patrick Todd said that the opening of the laboratory is timely as the Government has reactivated the Bonasika Police Outpost and ranks will therefore be able to provide security in the neighbourhood and ensure that vandalism does not take place at the location.