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Partnership to improve ICT in the country

By Jack Lapauve Jr, EMTV – Port Moresby

A partnership among the Government of Papua New Guinea, the Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme will increase the capacity of ICT in the country.

Around the world, internet and ICT account for a significant and growing proportion of global GDP. This global expansion is expected to bring local benefits to the Pacific, creating 16,000 new jobs and contributing to an estimated 6.2% rise to GDP in the region.

To date, the use of ICT in Papua New Guinea is low compared with many of its neighbors in part due to the number of qualified teaching staff and teaching facilities.

The Government of Papua New Guinea, through the University of Papua New Guinea, is addressing this, developing the country’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capacity via the development of an ICT learning facility, in partnership with the Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The facility will form the Centre for Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) and will result in a model learning environment, including education software, curriculum and teaching facilities.

Tracy Vienings, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative said “With 12 percent wage employment in Papua New Guinea and over 50 percent of the population under the age of 25, the rapidly advancing information and communications technologies sector is seen as a way of helping to progress some of the social and economic opportunities for the growing urban youth populations. In addition, ICT is seen as a key opportunity for connecting the 85 percent of the population living in hard to reach rural areas of the country.”

The University of Papua New Guinea is the implementing agency of the Government of PNG. Acting Vice Chancellor of UPNG, Vincent Malaibe said “The geography of PNG necessitates the use of IT to support learning and delivery of education to the people of PNG thus allowing them to participate meaningfully in the development of PNG”.

This project is made possible through the support of the Government of India through the South-South Fund.

R.D. Joshi, Counselor of the High Commissioner of India to Papua New Guinea said, “The vision of this project is to create a pool of knowledge workers and generate employment opportunities by producing world class IT professionals to attract investment in Papua New Guinea and generate revenues through software export. The support by the Government of India will include providing IT equipment and training to Papua New Guinea nationals in India.”

Construction of the CEIT will start in April and the facilities are expected to be open for the next academic intake.

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