MOPT is mulling development of animation industry

21st May, 2018 0 comments

The Ministry of Public Telecommunications is examining the further development of an animation industry in Guyana.

This was disclosed, today Minister Cathy Hughes at the inaugural Entrepreneurship and Innovation Conference.

The Minister told the gathering that the development of an animation industry will provide further investment opportunities for the country and will also foster new entrepreneurs and employment opportunities.

She said the government will be networking with relevant stakeholders to build synergy for the development of the industry since the animation industry has increased significantly across the Caribbean.

“We are looking at opportunities to ensure budding entrepreneurs are given opportunities to develop ourselves in the animation market … the opportunities to garner international business is real and possible and we think here our labour cost makes an advantage for us to be able to compete in a worldwide market compared to those in the industry.”

According to the minister, there is currently a small privately-owned animation studio called Animax which began in 2013 providing 15 to 16 seats for showings. The ministry has already funded three persons involved in local animation network for training in Suriname.

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Coding course launched to encourage more girls in ICT field

27th April, 2018 0 comments

Over 40 young girls will over the next 12 weekends undergo training in coding as part of an initiative to encourage and nurture their participation in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) field.

The opening session of the Guyanese Girls Code programme, which is an initiative of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications in collaboration with the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) and the University of Guyana (UG), was held yesterday at the Education Lecture Theatre at the Turkeyen Campus.

The programme is designed to teach Beginners Coding/Programming to Guyanese girls between the ages of 11 and 14. The goal of the initiative is to address the gender disparity in the Guyana’s ICT sector, where women and girls remain underrepresented.

“You are the chosen generation. You guys are going to transform Guyana with how you use and promote ICT”, Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes told the participants during the welcome remarks.

Hughes said at last opportunities can be given to girls to ensure that they can fully participate in the important field. “So, today is really the start of a whole new journey that you girls will undertake, hopefully starting today, the experience will go with you through the rest of your lives,” Hughes said.

Hughes noted that this is important since usually when situations arise involving the use of computers and ICT, there is little or no involvement of girls, and “…we want to make sure that the girls are equally there.”

“Normally, we are faced with the question: where are the girls?” Hughes observed, while relating that sometimes in a room fill with about sixty people who are all computer graphic specialists or programmers or website developers or animation developers, there are only two girls.

She stated that in developed countries across the world, women can be seen operating at the “higher levels” and this should also be visible in Guyana.

“The great thing is more girls are doing well at high school, more girls are going into university, so we girls have got the capacity to do it,” Hughes continued.

She said that her ministry always believed that they had to make a change and “…that we had to train more of our Guyanese women to get into Information Technology. ICT is not only meant for boys and girls. Women are exceeding, exceling and they are leading in many ways.”

“There are so many facets of being a part of this ICT thing, not just the laptops, tablet, phones, all of that is part of the ICT agenda, so you have nothing to be bored about,” Hughes related while telling the young girls, “you have a wonderful opportunity, take advantage of it”.

Meanwhile, Penelope DeFreitas, Head of UG’s Computer Science Department and Lead Instructor of the Guyanese Girls Code Programme, said that the number of participants is overwhelming since only about 20 girls were catered for during a discussion of the plans for the project.

The curriculum will cover both theoretical and practical aspects, DeFreitas said. The theory, she noted, will be about 40 percent of the course and covers a range of topics, including the pioneers in computer science, practical applications of software and hardware in the real world, security and the responsibility when it comes to using technology, while the practical aspect will encompass a number of activities.

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Broadcasters encouraged to be responsible

19th October, 2017 0 comments

Local broadcasters were charged to more responsible and cognizant of the effect their words have on listeners when on-air.

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes delivered the charge Tuesday last, at the University of Guyana, Centre of Communications’ panel discussion on ‘Careers in Broadcasting’.

“You have such a huge responsibility and it’s really is not about you. When you get in front of that microphone, you must realise that you could be speaking to someone who is about to commit suicide, who doesn’t have the joy of vision, who is blind. You could be speaking to so many different people and therefore there is a responsibility that must come with every single word you say” Minister Hughes emphasised.

It was noted, there is more work to be done in the broadcasting industry, which is rapidly progressing technologically. Internet access has proven to be advantageous for broadcasters today as research tools are now at their fingertips.

Minister Hughes stressed the need for objectivity whether broadcasters are employed in the private or state media. She reiterated the job requires presentation of information in a fair and objective manner.

The Public Telecommunications Minister encouraged persons interested in joining the industry, to have a passion for the craft and be prepared to raise the bar.

A number of veteran broadcasters including Russel Lancaster, Merrano Issacs, and Basil Bradshaw shared their experiences, gave tips on honing broadcasting skills and responded to questions from the audience.

The event was part of the University’s  Communication Studies Centre’s effort to sensitise students to the various opportunities in the field of broadcasting.

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University of Guyana prepares to switch on radio station

30th September, 2017 0 comments

The teaching of broadcasting and the production of quality content are set to receive a major boost when the University of Guyana (UG) switches on its radio station by next year Easter, the tertiary institution announced in unveiling the project on Wednesday.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement), Professor Paloma Mohamed, said the project would cost US$79,000.

The 30 watt FM transmitter, which is expected to target a radius of 15 miles from its location at the Turkeyen Campus, Greater Georgetown, is expected in Guyana by January, 2018. UG had wanted a 30-mile radius, but Mohamed said they were unsuccessful.

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes said the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA) would be granting the licence after the new and modern FM transmitter arrives in Guyana soon. “Until the transmitter is set up and we can actually do our testing and determine the right frequencies, we cannot prepare and print that licence and hand it over,” she said.

Chairman of the Guyana National Broadcasting Authority (GNBA), Leslie Sobers pledged that regulatory agency’s commitment to ensuring that UG receives its radio licence after technical details are ironed out. “The Guyana National Broadcasting Authority stands committed to ensuring that the University of Guyana receives its broadcasting licence,” he said.

Mohammed said eventually UG would be broadcasting on its own television channel, providing an added opportunity for the Journalism and Communication students to receive hands-on training in live and production environments. “Part of the big gap that this is going to full is that we are going to be able to train people to do live on-air broadcasting in both radio television. It is going to create a forum for our student-led and faculty-led productions to be used by a wider community so it’s not produced and just left there,” she said. She added that youths from the community and media practitioners would also be trained.

She praised the Guyana Press Association (GPA) for consistently clamouring for UG to once again receive a  radio license.

Although UG had been granted a radio license up to 1990 when it was not renewed and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Ohio University and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had funded the equipping of the radio studios, the station never went on air full-time, except for short test-transmissions.

Minister Hughes recalled that in 2011 radio licences had been “shared out like chico sweets”, in apparent reference to then President Bharrat Jagdeo’s granting of several radio licences to individuals before broadcasting legislation was approved.. She said UG’s radio station would be a “very important training tool”. “It will provide the important opportunity to transfer theoretical knowledge into practical on-the-job training. It will also save the university some expenses and most importantly communication students can save some time and money, especially those students who in the past have had to go to private stations or to record their course assignments,” said Hughes, a former broadcast journalist and producer. Hughes noted that university radio stations usually cement their relationships with the community.

President David Granger recently assented to amendments to the Broadcasting Act, despite outcries by local radio and television broadcasters, the Guyana Press Association, Association of Caribbean Media Worker and Reporters Without Borders.

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UG and Theatre Guild receive donation of 375 chairs

21st September, 2017 0 comments

DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes today donated a number of chairs to the University of Guyana and Theatre Guild. The chairs were taken from the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) which is currently being renovated.

Minister Hughes said that with the ongoing rehabilitation of the ACCC, the Ministry decided to donate the chairs that would no longer be needed at the centre. “We decided that we would donate those chairs to two organisations.”

The Minister explained that a committee working closely with the administration of the Conference Centre, to monitor the progress of the repairs, initiated the idea of donating the chairs to the University and the Theatre Guild.

Minister Hughes further added that the work on the Conference Centre “is going very well and we are down to reopen by May of 2018”.

275 chairs which will be used to upgrade the student’s lounge. It was explained that some will be installed in classrooms that will allow for stationary chairs and the rest will be placed in Centre for Communications Studies’.

Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Guyana, Professor Dr. Ivelaw  Griffith received the chairs while Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Philanthropy, Alumni and Civic Engagement, Dr. Paloma Mohamed, thanked Minister Hughes for the donation. They both noted that the areas designated for the installation of the chairs are in need of an upgrade and that the contribution is a timely one.

Professor Griffith also thanked Director of Business, Dereck Cummings, Director of the Conference Center, Nandkumar and staff of the University.

Additionally, 100 chairs were donated to the Theatre Guild. Board Member of the Guild Malcolm De Freitas, observed that the chairs will improve their capacity to host events and give the playhouse a new ambience.

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UG’s Tain, Turkeyen campuses now digitally connected with teleconferencing platform

11th June, 2017 0 comments

Students from the University of Guyana’s Tain Campus can now access courses offered at the University’s Turkeyen Campus without leaving Berbice. This is now possible with the launch of the Teleconferencing Platform, which connects the two campuses.

UG, in collaboration with the Public Telecommunications Ministry, on Monday launched the Teleconferencing Platform at the Centre for Information Technology (CIT), Turkeyen Campus.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said the Platform, donated by Huawei – a China-based company, was just one step towards connecting the University’s campuses. He added that he intended to push the envelope of engagement not only within and between the classrooms, but also in the communities for wider participation.

Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes said Government wanted to ensure there was more connectivity between the country’s premier tertiary institution and other stakeholders. “Today, we are celebrating the operation of our teleconferencing facility, which has been given as a gift to UG, and from a macro perspective, this teleconferencing suite is one more step in the march towards creating a higher level of digital connectivity for all citizens of Guyana,” she said.

“…where we are hoping to take Guyana as a country means that we want to ensure that we can provide, as a Government, more and more digital services online,” Hughes added.

The Minister revealed that it was hoped that birth registration, passport and driver’s licence applications would be available online since that would be more efficient and less time-consuming. Minister Hughes underscored the importance of the teleconferencing suite, noting that it would allow students from the Tain Campus the opportunity to take courses only offered at the Turkeyen Campus, without the hassle of travelling back and forth between Berbice and Georgetown.

“With the use of technology we recognise that we can connect distant locations and that, of course, makes it easy for individuals, for students, for teachers in our society and communities to be able to connect. This equipment was a gift from Huawei and they actually presented this to Guyana since 2013. We are excited; I am excited, that finally with the help of capable staff at the ICT [Information and Communications Technology] Department here at UG and with my staff they’ve made the commitment – that guess what? although the instructions for assembling this unit is actually in Mandarin, they decided that they would put their heads together and they have delivered,” Hughes commended.

She also revealed that the unit would be powered by the Ministry’s e-Government Unit. Hughes added that through the e-Governanace Agency, they have been able to connect 84 schools, 20 educational institutions and created some 56 ICT hubs.

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UG's Tain and Turkeyen's capacity boosted with commissioning of Teleconferencing Platform

6th June, 2017 0 comments

University of Guyana Tain and Turkeyen’s students will now be able to access local and international classes from their respective locations. This was revealed today when the University of Guyana officially launched its Teleconferencing Platform at the Centre for Information Technology (CIT), Turkeyen Campus.

The commissioning featured a live demonstration of the Teleconferencing Suite’s capabilities with the participation of students on the Berbice Tain campus. It was explained that prospective students especially from Region Six, East Berbice Corentyne will now be able to access courses that are unavailable at the Tain campus but are at the Turkeyen campus without leaving their classrooms.

Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes said that the agreement between the Ministry and University is to ensure that there is more connectivity on the campuses and also to enhance education countrywide.

She explained that with the use of technology, distant locations are able to connect which makes it easier for students, teachers and lecturers. “This teleconferencing suite is one more step in the march of creating a higher level of digital connectivity for all citizens of Guyana”, Minister Hughes emphasised. She noted that there “is no time to pause” when the government moving to make Guyana a digital country.

Minister Hughes said that her Ministry recognised that technology around the world is changing rapidly and even though Guyana is behind, the prospect of “catching up” is exciting.” She expressed gratitude to Huawei Technologies, the University of Guyana, and E- Government Agency for “their tireless efforts in making the Teleconferencing Platform a reality.”

Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith said that this commissioning of the Teleconference suite is the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the University and the Ministry of Telecommunications. He stated that the Teleconferencing is “the renewing of vows” between the relevant agencies for greater cooperation.

The Vice Chancellor added that it is the memorandum of understanding  which will enable the presence of the University in a number of locations. He also expressed gratitude to the relevant agencies for their co-operation in bringing the initiative to light.

The teleconferencing suite is a 2013 gift from Huawei Technologies which was installed on the University’s Turkeyen Campus recently as part of the agreement for Technical Cooperation between the University and the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications.

The NDMA first had to reconfigure the suite to the new fibre optic network connectivity requirements on campus before the teleconferencing was made possible.

In April, 2017 Minister of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes and University of Guyana’s (UG), Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Ivelaw Griffith signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost the Information Communication Technology (ICT) platforms at the Turkeyen campus, in keeping with one of the major goals of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications to better equip UG to provide broad band internet access to students and lecturers.

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Ministry, UG clinch MoU for ICT upgrade

21st April, 2017 0 comments

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed yesterday between the Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, for the upgrade of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) platforms on all University of Guyana (UG) Campuses.

During the signing which was held in the Vice Chancellery Building, on the Turkeyen Campus, Professor Griffith who expressed his elation and gratitude to those in attendance, described the signing as “symbolic” while adding that it is a substantive demonstration on what the university intends on doing over time. Speaking briefly on the agreement which was signed by the minister and himself, Griffith noted that it is a read more here

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UG, Gov’t to sign MoU to upgrade internet at UG campuses

18th April, 2017 0 comments

The National Data Management Authority (NDMA) of the Ministry of Public Telecommunications and the University of Guyana will soon co-sign a vital agreement to significantly upgrade the internet and other ICT platforms on all University of Guyana campuses and Centres around the country.

This collaboration which began in late 2016 involved highest level negotiations between Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes, and Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr. Ivelaw Griffith.

According to a release from the Ministry, the University’s technical team was led by Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Philantrophy, Alumni and Civic Engagement and Communications; Dr. Fitzgerald Yaw, Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives; and Rayman Khan of the Centre for Information Technology.  The NDMA’s technical team was led by its Chairman Floyd Levi and included Dr. Samantha Scotland and Director Malcolm Williams.

“Two teams have been collaborating over the past few months and together they conducted a detailed assessment of the existing fibre optic system on the Turkeyen, Tain and John’s campuses to determine what additional facilities would be required to connect them as a network.  The collaboration has also produced a campus Wi-fi hotspot system and saw the installation of two state-of-the-art Teleconferencing Suites at Turkeyen and Tain. These will be used in online delivery of courses between the campuses in Guyana and with international institutions.  The campus fibre network will also be connected to the Georgetown fibre optic network,” the release noted.

At the signing, the university is expected to demonstrate the uses of the Teleconferencing Suite, a gift from Huawei Technologies of China which the NDMA has reconfigured for compatibility with the local fibre network.  The collaboration between the University and NDMA also includes some key synergies at the Ministry’s Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) which is located on the Turkeyen Campus.  The parties have committed to sharing research, instructional skills and materials.  The CEIT is funded by the Government of India.

For the Ministry of Public Telecommunications, this is a key element in its national ICT initiative which has Education as its main pillar.  From the University’s platform, the administration is gearing to achieve optimal delivery of tertiary level tutelage by upgrading the physical and technological infrastructure and Guyana’s human capital.

The MOU is expected to be signed by Minister Catherine Hughes and Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Ivelaw Griffith by the end of April 2017.

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