Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have signed an agreement to collaborate on Giga, a UNICEF-ITU global initiative to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice. 

“The OECS Commission is pleased to partner with UNICEF and ITU to deliver this timely digital transformation programme. The COVID-19 pandemic has made Giga even more relevant as we seek to bridge the digital divide and empower teachers, students and families to use technology to enhance the delivery of education and continuity of teaching and learning,” said Director-General of the OECS Commission Dr Didacus Jules

Jules added that the successful delivery of Giga will be a major milestone for the youth of the OECS.

Launched in 2019, Giga sets the goal of providing connectivity to every school in the world.

As a first step, Giga is working with the OECS to map every school in the region, and to provide real-time monitoring data on the quality of internet connectivity. 

UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Dr. Aloys Kamuragiye said that eight countries in the OECS have completed mapping of their school connectivity and a Giga Regional Centre and team will soon be established.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UN’s specialised agency for information and communication technologies, noted that improved connectivity will ensure that young people will be well equipped with the digital skills that they need to shape their future in this Internet age.

The Giga initiative

By using schools to identify demand for connectivity, Giga serves as a platform to create the necessary infrastructure to provide digital connectivity to an entire country, for every community and citizen.

The Giga initiative consists of four pillars: 

  • map connectivity of every school in partnership with governments, advise on building affordable and sustainable country-specific
  • models for finance and delivery
  • determine the best possible technical solutions to connect every school to the Internet, and 
  • empower young people with digital skills for the future.

Giga is aligned with the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation’s Recommendations 1A and 1B, which state, respectively, that “by 2030, every adult should have affordable access to digital networks and have a broad, multi-stakeholder alliance, involving the UN, to create a platform to share digital public goods.”

Source: Caribbean News Now!

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