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Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, the Hon Daryl Vaz, believes Jamaica has the potential to gain a competitive edge in developing software applications for global use.
Mr. Vaz made the comment while praising the success of Northern Caribbean University’s (NCU) Team Xormis, which won the Microsoft Image Interoperability world award in Poland last month, as well as NCU’s Team Educ8, which had won the national and regional titles earlier.
He was speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Government in honour of both teams’ outstanding achievements, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on Wednesday (August 11).

Members of the Northern Caribbean University’s (NCU) folk ensemble perform a medley of cultural songs during during a luncheon in honour of the NCU’s Microsoft Imagine Cup teams at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (August 11).

The Minister said that they had demonstrated that with diligence and consistency, “as well as the good old Jamaican ingenuity”, Jamaica has the potential to gain a competitive advantage in the development of software applications for myriad of uses worldwide.
He credited the empowerment of Jamaicans through ICT training as the first step in that direction noting that, through the e-learning programme, the Government was providing students with “equipment to access and connect to the vast and fertile learning ground of the Internet”, to further develop the nation’s capabilities in that sector.
Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, said the achievements of the two teams were a definite “plus for education” in Jamaica, and were indicative of the improvements in the tertiary sector over the last few years.
“We’re seeing the University of the West Indies making progress in research; we’re seeing the University of Technology expanding in training; and (now) we’re seeing NCU developing a strong research arm in Information Technology,” he explained.

Chairman of the Northern Caribbean University’s (NCU) Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Kenrie Hylton, (left – podium) introduces the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2010 World Champions, Team Xormis and Regional Champions, Team Educ8, during a luncheon in their honour at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday (August 11).

“It is clear that NCU is marking out its niche and, for that, I am very pleased, because the broadening of the tertiary sector is very important for national development,” he added.
Mr. Holness also challenged tertiary institutions to translate their research into marketable ideas, through which the country’s economy can develop.
Microsoft’s representative in Jamaica, Joseph McKinson, said that NCU’s performance was nothing short of “consistent, outstanding and exemplary”.
“At Microsoft we are in awe of these incredibly talented NCU students, as every year the bar is set higher and yet the NCU team has consistently done well and has also made Jamaica proud,” he remarked.
The Imagine Cup, billed as “the world’s premier student technology competition,” is now in its eighth year. The 2010 event challenged young people to apply their “imagination, their passion, and their creativity” to bring to life technology innovations that could make a difference in the world.
The competition has several categories in which students can participate. This year, NCU had two teams in the world finals – Team Educ8, who failed to follow up their regional success in Poland and Team Xormis, who were second in the region but moved ahead to win the world title for Interoperability ahead of Brazil’s Uptiva Dreams IT and Chandradimuka, Indonesia. Some 325, 000 students from more than 100 countries around the world participated.
Team Xormis entry was described as a matchmaker that coupled significant and pervasive problems with the appropriate solution providers. The team was comprised of Dwayne Samuels, Markel Mairs, Shawn McLean and Derron Brown.
Team Educ8 developed a software for primary school students, called the Electronic School Computer Aid for Primary Education (eSCAPE), geared at improving literacy in primary schools. Team Educ8 included Trevor Williams, Trecia Thompson, Warren Robinson and Caray McKenzie.

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