Gail Purcell, Country Manager of Flow Grenada addresses the audience on plans to start training programmes across the island at the Community Access Points, which are receiving free broadband internet service courtesy of Flow
MORNE ROUGE, Grenada -- Flow Grenada and its strategic partner BrightPath Foundation are taking another step to empower and enable Grenadians to become business owners and content creators.
During a press conference on Tuesday to announce the availability of up to 100Mbps internet speed, Gail Purcell, country manager of Columbus Communications Grenada Ltd, operating as FLOW, said they will be working with BrightPath to establish training programmes at the ten community access points (CAPs) around the island which receive free broadband from the company.
Bevil Wooding, executive director of BrightPath, a non-profit which focuses on technology-based learning, said Grenada has been the Caribbean’s pioneer in policies to enable the use of technology and has led with the deployment of the region’s first Internet Exchange Point (IXP). In 2012, BrightPath worked with a group of young Grenadians to teach them to develop mobile applications. Wooding said five apps produced in the workshop are now available for download.
“We must deliberately prepare the next generation from being content consumers to content producers,” Wooding charged. “Technology is the servant of our development.”
With this in mind, Wooding said new training programmes will be launched through the CAPs located in the community centres and with the support of community groups, to teach classes targeted at youth, senior citizens, parents, educators and At Risk Youth.
The intention he said is to make these CAPs the focal points for accessing new markets through eCommerce platforms offering indigenous Grenadian products and content.
“These access points can fuel the national development. The building blocks are there and the youth are waiting to be unleashed,” declared Wooding.
Counsellor at the Boca Secondary School, Sturling Campbell, welcomed the initiatives, which he said will be to the benefit of both teachers and students. Campbell revealed that his school was preparing to launch a new web-based programme that will allow parents to see their children’s reports, homework assignments and communicate with the teachers online. As more of the curriculum goes online, he added, students will need to be able to complete their assignments virtually and the increased broadband as well as the CAPS will support these new ways of learning and educating the population.
Rhea Yaw Ching, corporate vice president of sales and marketing for Columbus, said the objective behind the provision of free broadband to schools and community centres and the training programmes is to empower communities to be problem solvers and make changes that have a lasting and transformative impact on the society.
Grenada, she said, is to be the test country for new initiatives between Columbus and its strategic partners in the areas of technology deployment, content creation and eLearning.
For more than a year now, ten of the island’s community centres have been able to offer internet service to residents for a minimal charge of EC$20 per family per month. Purcell said this fee enables the centres to provide paper and other incidentals for the service but more importantly gave families who did not have their own computer or internet at home the same possibilities as those that were able to afford it.
Flow Grenada and BrightPath hope to launch the first training programme before the end of 2013.