The University of Guyana’s (UG) Internet Resource Centre (IRC) has been re-commissioned following development works to the tune of GYD$20M which were funded by leading local telecommunications provider, GT&T.
The project comes against the backdrop of an inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April of this year between the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) and the University of Guyana (UG) for the sum of $60 million to further develop the facilities of the Information Technology Faculty.
This phase of the project which was rolled out yesterday saw the enhancement of a previously limited 512 kilobytes bandwidth to an expanded 2 megabytes of direct access internet service at a cost of $1.2 million monthly.
Additionally, this chapter of the 3 year project will facilitate the replacement of 57 computers presently occupying the laboratory, the provision of additional equipment to enhance the delivery and distribution of the bandwidth and the refurbishment of the lab.
According to CEO of GT&T, RK Sharma, the project must be seen in the context of GT&T relationship with the University since they have not only partnered with the tertiary institution and contributed to various aspects of their programmes, but they have also played an instrumental role in setting up the Centre for Information Technology.
Sharma also alluded to the fact that “over the years we have also partnered with the University of Guyana to provide five annual scholarships for studies in the fields of Technology and Natural Science.” He noted that as a result: “Our focus will continue to be on sustainable human development mechanisms as the enhancement of skills will fuel social capital growth and development.”
Vice Chancellor of UG, Professor Jacob Opadeyi, who welcomed the much needed assistance, underscored the fact that since his assumption of office, some 20 agreements would have already been signed by him and this is the first to bear fruit.
He noted that the agreement signed between UG and GT&T comprises some 5 elements and the re-commissioning yesterday would have been the completion of the third element. The other two he noted will see the undertaking of capital works, in agreement with GT&T, to the value of $4.4 million and the provision of a closed user group service package for UG’s administration, in terms of telephone service and other works. The facility will be a boost for students in offering improved access to the internet for research and studies, and teaching will become easier, the professor added.
Addressing the small gathering on Thursday too was President Donald Ramotar who endorsed such developmental initiatives in the education sector, stressing the need for more private sector involvement. “I hope this example will become infectious and catches on in the private sector” he urged.
The President also expressed how pleased he was that the company took the decision to execute the $20 million project, which will “complement government’s efforts to improve facilities at the University of Guyana”. He said that planned capital works; improvements in the science and technology programmes, and the planned Centre for Bio-Diversity Studies were just some of government’s planned inputs.
Echoing the sentiments of GT&T’s CEO, President Ramotar highlighted that it can be seen in the fact that the world’s most developed countries have the most educated populations. “The most important factor for our development is our human factor and therefore we have to build that human capital, if we are to advance into this century that we are in, and if our economy is to go forward with the speed that it can, and it potentially has”.
It was in January 2004 that the Information Technology Centre was officially opened by then President Bharrat Jagdeo. The facility was planned to provide 153 computers for students and staff, 57 of which would be used for internet activities and the remaining 96 for teaching. GT&T had contributed 53 Dell computers and other internet ready facilities to the centre after it was opened.
The MOU which was signed earlier this year between GT&T and UG seeks to provide sponsorship funds to the University in the amount of $20 million annually for a period of three years distributed across sub projects. The re-commissioning serves as one phase of the three years intended project.
Filed: 19th September, 2014