Making Computer Technology Available To The Masses
July 19, 2020
With the rapid expansion of, and improvements in Information Technology, and its impact on all facets of life, the need to be computer literate is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Although the cost of computers has been made more affordable, many persons whose income is tied closely to the cost of living cannot afford the basic computer system.
This clearly places a large segment of the population at a disadvantage, and by extension it limits the type of development that can take place. Many countries are forced to import human resources to fill the void left by an uneducated and uninformed society, thereby relegating its citizens to the less challenging occupations.
In addition, schools curriculums are designed with and facilitated by information technology, therefore those children who have only limited access suffers. Added to this dilemma are parents who are computer illiterate, this inability divorces them from what their children are doing. (As they are unable to play an active role in their children’s’ learning).
Technological pauperization which results in disadvantage groups not having ready access to information technology engenders increased inequalities in the social structure of a country. Without the intervention of governmental programmes such as the Community Technology Programme offered by the Community Development Department, which equips the Community Resource Centres with the requisite machinery and equipment where persons can go to easily access information and technology, inequality and impoverishment will continue to reign.
The Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment is mandated to bring information technology to the masses and has done this by strategically placing over four hundred computers (400) computers at nineteen (19) Community and Resource Centres across the Island. To further enhance that number partnerships have been formed with a number of churches to allow additional access by placing computers with internet access at additional locations.
These churches include:
- St Clements Anglican Church
- Holy Innocents Anglican Church
In addition the Community Development Department and the Ministry Of Education has collaborated to make community training more readily accessible by introducing the Community Technology Programme at select EDUTECH ready schools across the Island:
- St Andrews Primary Belleplaine St Andrew
- St Lucy Secondary
- Mount Tabor ST John
- Lester Vaughn St Thomas
- Irwin Wilson St Michael
This number is expected to increase to include an additional seven schools in the coming year.
Today the Community Development Department continues to offer free computer classes to the public of Barbados, and takes it a step further, by introducing classes in Internet Banking, Google Suite, Moodle and many other platforms that would assist persons to function adequately in the Post COVID-19 environment.
Making technology available to disadvantaged persons is the responsibility of governments, as an informed society supports growth and development. Countries that cannot afford to make information technology readily available to their people, because of economic hardship and National debt should be aided and assisted by Corporate Barbados, local charities and International Donor Agencies. The following should be adapted as one of the basic human rights in the United Nation Human Rights Declaration, “Every citizen of a country should have the right to access Information Technology”.