JIS News

KINGSTON — Primary, secondary and tertiary student's islandwide have until midnight, Thursday, June 30, to register for the Blackberry Developers Competition, being spearheaded by the Ministry of Education and the Office of the Prime Minister.

 Dubbed ‘App.ti.tude’, the competition, which was officially launched on May 17, at the Wyndham Hotel, New Kingston, aims to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurial activity among students.

The initiative will encourage students to use their creativity to submit ideas, and to develop or create mobile applications for either the Blackberry Smartphone, or Playbook.

Speaking at the launch, Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, said through the competition, youngsters would be able to use their creativity to develop a product that can generate income and employment.

“We are taking our naturally gifted youngsters and we are going to give them the opportunity, the incentives and the support, and I have every confidence that they will create applications that can become marketable, that can secure enough intellectual property rights that will add to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Jamaica,” he said.

Acting Chief Technical Director in the Office of the Prime Minister, Wahkeen Murray, said the Government recognises the tremendous power of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to mobilise the youth, provide new avenues for creative self expression and career development, and facilitate greater understanding and appreciation of the world in which they live and must thrive.

“It is therefore appropriate that the minds of the competitors at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels are being directed to the gamut of endeavours of the information age. No doubt, at the end of this exercise, the perspective of each participant will be forever changed,” she said.

“The government of Jamaica continues to seize and celebrate all opportunities to partner with the private sector in preparing our young people to perform on the world stage and to expand the vista from which they will design their career paths, and determine their mode of contribution to Jamaica and by extension the world,” she added.

During the launch, an agreement was signed by the Ministry and sponsors, Blackberry Smartphone developer, Research in Motion Limited (RIM), and telecommunications provider, Digicel, to collaborate on the initiative. 

Entrants can register at: www.bbdevelopers.gov.jm, and deadline for the submission of ideas and application is Sunday, July 31.

Only teams comprising a minimum of three students and a maximum of four, from publicly or independently operated institutions will be allowed to participate in the competition. Each team is required to have a named coach who must be a teacher/lecturer at that institution. A school may enter an unlimited number of teams and each school must be registered with the Ministry of Education or the University Council of Jamaica.

Prizes will be awarded to schools, team coaches and team members. There are prizes for members of the top 10 school teams at the primary level and members of the top three teams at the secondary and tertiary levels.

The overall winning team will receive the Best in Show award, which is an all expense paid trip from RIM to the upcoming Blackberry Developers Conference in October, to be held in San Francisco, United States.

Digicel will use the overall winning Blackberry application in all its markets as a value-added service to its Blackberry customers.

 

By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter