Some blogs posted to Barbados Underground through the years have highlighted the importance of the private and public sectors working together to ensure we allocate adequate resources to maintain a robust IT infrastructure. It is no secret government websites in Barbados are easy targets from hackers. And in recent weeks a few private companies have been penetrated with ransomware attacks severely compromising delivery of services to the public. Events as described serve to undermine our reputation as a fit and proper environment to live productive lifes.
A solid IT infrastructure is the pillar upon which an effective digital transformation strategy can be launched and administered. We have to prepare and equip our people to expertly navigate the challenges ahead. This is a must if we are to sustain a way of life we have become accustomed and honour the obligation as a responsible society to educate our children to be able to compete in the global market place.
A positive from the effect of the pandemic (Covid 19) currently razing global economies is that it serves as an health check to measure the effectiveness of IT systems everywhere. Building and maintaining fit for purpose IT infrastructure is an expensive undertaking. Most of the software and hardware inputs have to be procured from external vendors with local players having no choice to be price takers. Importantly is nurturing the interest and make training available to the HR element. For small island developing states like Barbados it will be important for a larger slice of the national budget to be allocated to modernizing IT infrastructure. The same for the private sector. The competitiveness of Barbados hinges on public and private sector harmonizing strategies to ensure the local environment is conducive to transacting business.
Independents will agree the incumbent government has brought a focus to the area of technology and innovation. Government is the significant player in the local market and must lead to ensure a greater effort to move towards diversifying and growing efficiencies in the economy. We have seen quick wins with the facility to pay and access online important services BUT there is a long way to go.
It is encouraging to the blogmaster therefore to witness the effort to reform the education system and to improve the use of technology in an innovative a manner as is practical given our limited resources. There are so many priorities to attend to. Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw speaking in parliament last Tuesday revealed that the government was going ahead in setting up an Education Reform Unit (ERU). The unit is mandated to lead reform to the curriculum to make it relevant for a 21st century mode of operating – fit for purpose. The transformation roadmap includes targeting from early childhood to tertiary level.
One of Barbados’ favourite academics residing in the diaspora (and this is important) has been invited to work with the ERU to speed up reforms – Professor Cardinal Warde is a Barbadian professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the best learning institutions in the field of engineering and technology in North America if the reviews are to be believed.
Some of us were excited to participate last weekend in a virtual discussion hosted by the ministry of education on Coding and Robotics in Schools. Professor Warde participated also Jason Stephany, a student of Harrison College who created the Quickorderz app, we have young people doing amazing things on the 2×3 island. See the blog posted last week that featured another HC student Maria Marshall .
Technology affords citizens who want to effectively participate in our democracy to be informed about the issues. Here is the link to the discussion held last weekend.
Imagine teaching coding and robotics in our schools.
Something to be excited about as we prepare- some will say a little late to the party- for the future.
We are living in exciting times where opportunities are there for the taking!