Within the next few months, Barbados will be well on its way to becoming a “smart society” as more Barbadians gain access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment Adrian Forde revealed this as he opened the island’s twenty-first community centre hosting Government’s Community Technology Programme on the grounds of the Holy Innocents Anglican Church in St Thomas.
The minister remarked, “We understand that information technology, and its availability to Barbadians of all ages, will play a major role in taking this country forward, and the Community Technology Programme is geared specifically to increase and improve the technological literacy of community members and ensure that Barbadians are adequately prepared to face the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid expansion of ICT throughout the world.”
Forde stated that the programme, which began in 2002 at eight community centres around Barbados, had so far catered to over 50,000 people including the elderly and schoolchildren, and noted that a programme geared to teenagers was in high demand.
He called the ten-week course “a significant fillip to educational attainment and social and cultural enrichment among children, parents and families in rural and urban communities,” and he commended the priest in charge at Holy Innocents, Reverend Anthony Harewood, for hosting the programme at his church, saying it “represents an important partnership between church and state.”
The Community Empowerment minister added, “we will be offering the people in St Thomas a number of new income-generating courses that will provide them with the skills to become employed, self-employed or to gain upward mobility in their current jobs.
Classes will be held at the centre between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays. During the well-attended opening ceremony, guitarist David Banfield performed two songs, while Rhea Blackman, an employee with the Community Development Department, had the entire audience singing along as she performed Go Light Your World. (DH)