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Director of Telecommunications Policy and Management at the Mona School of Business, Dr. Hopeton Dunn, has emphasized that education and infrastructure development were critical elements in the creation and implementation of Jamaica’s National Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategic plan.
Speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, Dr. Dunn disclosed that he is currently heading a team in updating and re-writing the country’s national ICT strategic plan, which would be used to enhance Jamaica’s social and economic development, through information and communication technologies.
He pointed out that through data gathering and public consultation, education has been identified as, “a sector that offers great scope for the use of information technology applications to develop the skills and capacities of young people and people who are in the educational system in all spheres of life”.
Infrastructure development and universal access to computer hardware and broadband services are other critical areas which will be included in the plan.
The Director said that there was need for further extension of the ICT network throughout the country, with “everybody being able to make contact with the network and have some ability to purchase computer hardware and to subscribe to the broadband services at affordable costs”.
Other areas that have emerged as key components for the National ICT plan include: e-government; e-commerce; research and innovation; culture, content and creativity as well as preparing an appropriate legislative and policy framework.
Under e-government, the Director explained that the plan would make specific reference to strategic public areas such as e-services, health, security, tourism, agriculture and labour, including the concept of telework.
The overall objective of revising the plan is to identify and propose the most effective ways for Jamaica to continue benefiting from emerging technologies in the delivery of government services, private sector transactions and community development in the next five years.
Work on the revised plan is being carried out by the Mona School of Business Planning Consultants and is monitored and reviewed by the Central Information Technology Office (CITO).
The team has conducted policy-relevant research among industry leaders and the public, and has pursued a detailed study of the national ICT strategic plan of eight other countries.
Stakeholders and members of the public are being invited to submit written recommendations on the National ICT Strategic Plan to tpm@uwimona.edu.jm or info@cito.gov.jm by Monday, November 27, 2006. Persons may also drop off submissions at CITO or the Mona School of Business.