Internet and Communication Technology Development in Jamaica | A Twitter Discussion
// October 7th, 2010 // Technology
The past two days have been an eye opener for me on Twitter. Never before have I seen such a healthy conversation related to technology in Jamaica. It all started with the following tweet:
The responses to that tweet have now numbered over 1200 so far and counting. 86 people have contributed to the discussion and even a national newspaper The Jamaica Observer has promoted the discussion on twitter to get more involvement.
What ICT suggestions were made?
Although there have been over 1000 tweets in the discussion they all revolve around the following points:
For greater ICT development in Jamaica we need (in no order of importance):
- Teachers need more training and exposure to ICT practices on a continuous basis
- Schools need better equipment to facilitate ICT courses and learning
- Children need more exposure to ICT at an earlier age
- A general push from the education system that ICT can be used to develop all fields and industries and ICT does not only mean IT related jobs
- Make Information Technology mandatory in all primary and high schools (with varying proficiencies based on student aptitude)
- See my related post on Reforming Jamaica’s Education system using Social Media
- Educate all students about cybercrime, internet security and phishing to prevent identity theft
Higher internet penetration
- The internet is the new essential utility, everyone should have access to it regardless of demographics
- Internet access will help those most in need, especially rural communities
- Education – the internet allows people to research and learn online, increasing education and literacy rates
- Business – the internet is a platform that can be used to boost business in a community, parish, country or region (access to an online marketplace worth billions)
- More internet users will help reduce internet costs for all and will make increased infrastructure development viable
- Promote the use of internet on mobile phones (there are more mobile phones than people in Jamaica)
- Free wifi at libraries, schools and businesses (restaurants, cafe’s etc)
Entrepreneurism and Business Development
- Create a greater awareness that becoming an entrepreneur is a viable option. Many Jamaicans think getting a job is the only option, while doing a “hustle” on the side.
- Use ICT more in all fields and industries. Technology does not just mean computers and websites. ICT can be used to help all businesses to reduce cost, increase efficiency, increase productivity and generate more profit.
- Create an overseeing body to oversee business practices by ICT professionals to ensure quality and build faith in local professionals
- A mentorship program is needed to guide young entrepreneurs.
- Use ICT to provide services to niche markets on a global scale. There are only so many people in Jamaica, why not market products to the world?
Finance Sector Support
- More funding is needed for ICT start-ups
- Local banks need to open payment gateways to allow micro, small and medium businesses to process credit and debit card transactions online.
Green ICT Policies – Thanks to @raggayouth for adding this
- Policies to mandate the use of energy efficient equipment and practices. Power plants generate harmful gases.
- Policies to mandate proper disposal of computers and other ICT equipment to limit or eliminate environmental impact
- ICT policies to reduce paper and other expendables
- Waste management companies have the opportunity to recycle and properly dispose of ICT hardware
- ICT growth can help support the development of renewable energy projects in Jamaica (@ICT4DJamrock)
- Government needs to support more local ICT service and product providers (instead of sourcing overseas)
- Government needs to eliminate taxes or duties on computers and accessories (or allow one tax free computer per household)
- Provide tax concessions for Venture Capitalists and Angel Funds investing in ICT startups
- Reduce taxes on ICT startups
- Create programs to get computers and internet access to impoverished and rural communities
- Create ICT awareness programs to promote ICT use in business and entrepreneurship
ICT Professionals to Get It Done
- Make use of the opportunities provided online
- Create more applications locally for computers, web and mobile phones
- Be more professional and provide better customer service when providing ICT products and solutions
- Hire the necessary staff to make the right business choices and develop small businesses
- Local professionals need to properly evaluate the value of products and services and price accordingly
- Create a lobby group to push the interests of ICT supporters to the Government
- Create greater awareness through an association of the products and services available by local providers to the business sector
- Create outreach programs to show youth what options are available to them through ICT development
- Support other local providers with their ICT based business
The ICT sector has the biggest potential to make a positive impact on Jamaica’s economy. The industry and it’s services could become Jamaica’s much needed boost to the manufacturing sector, creating jobs, attracting foreign revenue and increasing education without destroying the environment or using up natural resources. What is needed is a drastic change in beliefs, attitude and a drive to better one’s self and the country. Jamaica has the benefit of being in the same timezone as the eastern seaboard in the US, English is our primary language and we are located close to the Americas and our sister Caribbean countries. Let’s all mobilise, make use of our current advantages while making necessary changes to promote further development in the industry.
I would like to highlight the following twitter users for contributing suggestions to this discussion:
@kharysharpe @davidmullings @brukins @dezchamps @ict4djamrock @corvedacosta @lexlimitless @nik_williams @chrysalisceo @ingridriley @uncensored_mind @waynejonesjnr @doyenwilliams @billbailey25 @liddles15 @xyoni @damienharris
Other articles about the #ICTJA discussion: