6.2 Antigua and Barbuda

The Connect Antigua and Barbuda Initiative, which was launched by the government in 2006, comprises a number of elements, including promoting computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, and connecting Antigua and Barbuda to the world. Several distinct segments were defined, with the aim of increasing the usage of computerized technology by both students and adults.

Components include the:

  • Community Computer Access Centres (CACs)
  • Community Technology Officers (CTOs)
  • Mobile IT Classrooms
  • Techology for Early Childhood Education
  • Techology for Institutions for Higher Education
  • Techology for Communication, Education & Empowerment
  • Techology for Education 20/20
  • Multilingual Studies Programme
  • Technology for the Physically, Visually and Otherwise Challenged 211

Within the context of its programme, the government of Antigua and Barbuda has sought partnerships with investors and telecommunications companies to enable the introduction of ICTs in education and, in particular, to allow connectivity and availability of computers in schools and for students.

The Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications, Science and Technology, in collaboration with the telecommunications company LIME, launched the Technology for Education 20/20 initiative in 2011 to change teachers' perceptions of ICTs and how they should be used, and to encourage teachers to consider connectivity and laptops as a way of increasing student motivation and engagement. The first component in the collaboration between government and LIME is to provide 1,600 private and public primary and secondary school teachers with a modern, high-speed laptop computer and broadband Internet access at their homes. The teachers also will get subsidized Internet service installation at their homes (at a cost of USD 59 plus tax). Additionally, the government is paying the bills for the first four months of Internet access once the service has been installed at their homes. The second component of the initiative is to fully Wi-Fi enable all secondary schools across Antigua and Barbuda.212

In addition, in July 2012, the government launched its Government-Assisted Technology Endeavour (GATE) as a partnership with regional telecom firm Digicel to improve Antigua’s broadband Internet connectivity and stimulate growth in innovation, entrepreneurship, job creation and sustainability. GATE has four major components:

(1) An ICT Cadet Programme, which was launched in June 2012, aimed at targeting individuals who have completed secondary school for training and work experience in ICT;

(2) A component aimed at improving internet connectivity and technology in the classroom, including providing secondary school students with a 4G LTE computer tablet and 4G LTE broadband connectivity;

(3) A component aimed at providing 4G LTE connectivity for Antigua’s government; and

(4) A component aimed at creating a multi-purpose ICT training facility and special needs resource centre in the Michael’s Mount area of Antigua. 213

During the launch of the project, the Minister of IT, Dr. Edmond Mansoor, said that Digicel had donated USD 6.75 million towards the tablet fund, in which 6,000 tablets will initially be purchased.214

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