Posted: Monday, September 23, 2019. 6:05 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Prime Minister Dean Barrow has cited the advance of technology as a key in what will continue to make Belize a successful nation.
He described two instances during the Independence Day Address – the joint venture between the Government and Telemedia known as the DigiLearn Project and the planned rollout of an e-governance platform.
The former, Barrow said, “will see the introduction of a cloud platform and service that facilitates digital teaching and online learning. Already a pilot project has been completed involving nine high schools. Over 360 students participated and each of the schools has endorsed DigiLearn for their institution. Accordingly, DigiLearn will now be rolled out to 43 secondary schools starting this month. And ultimately GOB through BTL will provide a free laptop and digital classroom to every student in every high school in our country. The goal is to complete all this over the next five years, with the laptop computers provided not just to every student but to each teacher and each Administrator. Of course, Government will not stop to count the financial cost of all this because come hell or high water this revolution in Belizean education must get done.”
Students in Government-run high schools (such as Edward P. Yorke and Gwen Lizarraga High School in the City) will be subsidized to the tune of $300 for all four years of high school, compared to two years for other students in private and grant-aided high schools.
The latter is intended to see greatly improved public service, accessible to all and eliminating physical attendance at Government offices, eventually, removing the paperwork. Barrow noted, “70% of our citizenry now enjoy mobile internet access and, thus, measurable Public Service deliverables will soon become an eminently countable metric.”
And championing “manos-a-la-obra infrastructure,” the Prime Minister cited the recently approved loans for the Coastal Road, Caracol Road, Sarteneja an Progresso Roads and ongoing refurbishing of the Philip Goldson Highway from Mile 20 to the Northern Border as bringing more than $300 million or 8 percent of gross domestic product value, and hit back at critics saying, “…The mighty transformation enterprise moves on, my friends. And there will be no stopping until we reach the full expanse of our infrastructural promised land.”
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