by Delly Bagu – EM TV, Port Moresby
Mining Minister Byron Chan and Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Malakai Tabar together with two local level government presidents from the New Ireland Province today met with Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister for Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Information Technology Melford Nicholas in the capital Saint Johns.
The purpose of the visit is to explore the adoption of innovative Government ICT programmes, specifically the Government Assisted Technology Endeavour (GATE), a public private partnership between Digicel and the Government to develop first-world ICT qualifications and skills.
The Papua New Guinea delegation met with Minister Nicholas and the GATE team and discussed Papua New Guinea’s development in this area to date and the next steps to cement the implementation process in New Ireland Province.
“The GATE programme has proven to be a successful endeavour that’s been designed to enhance ICT skills among youth, giving them a second chance to further their education and career paths,” Minister Nicholas said.
The GATE programme has been successfully operating for three years and supplies accredited ICT resources to the industry.
Minister Tabar said the programme presents a tried and tested model for the development of much needed ICT skills in Papua New Guinea.
“I am impressed with this outcome and am looking forward to seeing Papua New Guinea adopt a similar model,” Minister Tabar emphasised. “We can build on the results of the Antigua solution. We can very quickly develop much needed capacity in higher education.”
Digicel has an ongoing collaboration programme with Members of Parliament including Minister Chan. This has seen increased connectivity across the districts and provincial centres to the network that will allow for projects like the GATE programme.
Digicel is trialling its e-learning programme under the existing government collaborations in nine schools across Papua New Guinea – a programme that provides connectivity to electronic information libraries for students and teachers using a mobile tablet PC device.