On Friday, April 15, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will open its highly anticipated ICT Centre for Excellence and Innovation (ICEI). The Centre, made possible through a partnership with the Government of India, is part of Grenada’s move to create a knowledge-based economy and improve the nation’s human resource capacity.
“One of our weaknesses, not just in Grenada, but also in the rest of the Eastern Caribbean and in most parts of the developing world, is our lack of capacity in terms of ICT,” said Senator Arley Gill, Minister with responsibility for ICT. “We [government] see the establishment of the ICT Centre for Excellence and Innovation as a first step in addressing that problem.”
The Centre, which will be housed at the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation in Frequente, St. George’s, is expected to offer a range of programmes in fields such as IT Project Management, Information Technology, Java and Linux Programming. The courses will range from basic to advanced levels, each requiring different prerequisites from applicants.
At the most basic levels, applicants are required to have studied Information Technology at secondary school; whilst at the advanced levels, some may be required to possess as much as a Master’s degree in I.T.
The Indian Government will play a major role in the execution of the day-to-day functions of the Centre. As part of its economic relationship with Grenada, the Asian nation will provide technical support in the form of highly trained ICT specialists to teach courses at the ICEI.
These Indian tutors, all of whom will be paid by their government, will also train a select group of Grenadians as ICEI teachers. The Grenadians will oversee and conduct the programmes at the Centre at the end of the assignment of the visiting Indian tutors.
The Grenada Government is bearing a significant portion of the cost of tutorship. According to Gill, government will be subsidising the cost to applicants to ensure as many interested people as possible receive the opportunity to benefit from the Centre.
“The government is heavily subsidising the cost of the courses, in some cases, by as much as 50 percent,” Gill said. “We are also in the process of working out the details of some scholarships that would be offered. We will be offering these to nationals, as well as regional persons; but all of the courses will be subsidised.”
The ICT Centre for Excellence and Innovation is the first of its kind to be established in an island of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States. As such, it is expected to not only attract Grenadian nationals, but also students from throughout the region.
ICT has been labelled as one of the five pillars upon which the government intends to transform and strengthen the Grenadian Economy. The other pillars include Health Education and Wellness; Tourism and Hospitality Services; Agri-business; and Energy Development.