[www.inewsguyana.com] – The APNU+AFC administration has announced that the E-Governance Unit has begun rolling out Wi- Fi networks in schools, while Hinterland and remote areas are expected to benefit from internet access by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
According to a release from the Ministry of the Presidency, E – Governance Advisor, Floyd Levi, said that at present, the Unit is focused on facilitating the implementation of the infrastructural networks, which includes the transmission and the data networks and the setting up of ICT Hubs across the country.
Levi disclosed that that the government was focusing on having the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Hubs and Internet Access Points operational by the end of 2016.
“The ICT Hubs are especially critical for the Wi-Fi networks to become operational. These are expected to benefit all Guyanese but more so, the remote and under developed communities,” the release noted.
According to the release, the roll out of Wi-Fi in secondary schools has begun at the President’s College, following a visit by President Granger to the institution in October.
Levi said that this is the first project in this category and it will be treated as a pilot to determine the exact needs and requirements for the other schools to benefit.
“What it does is that it gives them access to the eGovernment network, not just for internet access but for all government applications that we will publish on the network. We are using this as the pilot project, to ensure that we are able to fulfill the demands and requirements and then we move on to the other schools. We expect that this can be done within the first quarter of 2016. We have been mandated to provide internet access to all tertiary educational institutes, such as the Cyril Potter College of Education, the University of Guyana (UG), all of the Technical Institutes and Secondary schools,” he said.
Additionally, all government ministries, agencies and public buildings will be outfitted with Wi-Fi networks for visitors and consumers to access during their visits.
He assured that usage of the Wi-Fi service is monitored so as to ensure students’ safety and control.
“At President’s College, they have a strict regime. The Wi-Fi comes on at 6:00 am and goes off at 10:00 pm and what we have done is to install a “white list” of sites. This blocks them from visiting sites, which is not approved by the administration or is deemed inappropriate. This is in keeping with international guidelines so there is control,” he said.
Wi-Fi for Hinterland and Remote Areas
Meanwhile, it was noted that the Unit is actively pursuing a similar project, this time to service students in the Hinterland and remote areas, who have limited or no access to internet.
To this end, he said that work has already commenced in the Paramakatoi, Region Eight area.
“Some of the subjects that are taught at the CXC levels require that School Based Assessments (SBAs) are submitted online and the students who live here at are a disadvantage with that so we are trying to fix this. The ground work is currently being done and we are working towards getting all elements in place. We have a very ambitious plan for the hinterland and remote areas,” the advisor said.
The advisor several weeks ago had met with regional representatives of the Microsoft and CISCO Corporations to discuss support for the planned Information Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives.
According to him, plans are underway to consolidate internet access and email services for ministries, by way of an agreement, which would soon see email addresses for these agencies being moved to the gov.gy domain. Levi explained that the collaboration between the two organisations was crucial to the overall success of that Unit.