Posted: Friday, May 12, 2023. 1:24 pm CST.
Photo Credit: GOB Press Office
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Government of Belize officially partnered with Giga, a global initiative by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.
This partnership was launched on May 11 at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology (MoECST) will partner with the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, Logistics and E-Governance (MPUELE) in leading the Giga Belize initiative, which is expected to run for three years.
“Every Belizean child should have the opportunity to engage in rich online learning,” said the Government of Belize Press Office in a statement.
“The Giga initiative will help to ensure that the most vulnerable children are connected, providing them access to better opportunities for education and future employment.
“The Government of Belize is proud to partner with Giga to support the mission to advance school connectivity in Belize.”
MoECST said the Giga project provides support to map schools’ Internet access; monitors the quality of the Internet connection in connected schools through Project Connect and the Daily Check App; and helps to identify gaps in infrastructure and model efficient solutions to make connectivity affordable and sustainable. Giga also supports contracting for connectivity and designing competitive procurement processes for school connectivity. These measures will make the process transparent and will ensure providers maintain a quality connectivity standard that enables the Government to only pay for the connectivity the schools receive.
This launch coincides and is in line with the MoECST’s BESPlan 2021-2025 and national curriculum reform for competency-based learning and STEAM initiatives.
“MoECST has placed a high priority on connectivity, digitalisation, and digital education,” the GOB Press Office said.
“In addition, this initiative is aligned with the National Digital Agenda of the Ministry of E-Governance to leverage technological applications and advancements in transforming lives.”
With nearly one-third of people and half of the schools in the world not connected to the Internet, the Giga initiative is intent on addressing that issue in Belize. The Press Office statement said that Giga hopes to empower young people with the skills, knowledge, and opportunities they need to thrive in a digital world.
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