Technology has played an irreplaceable role in COVID-19 fight – PM

…says Hackathon 2020 to digitise education system, learning

Technology has played an unreplaceable role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic this year, with the development of new applications and software to ensure that normal activities continue.

Prime Minister Mark Phillips with participants of Hackathon 2020

This year, Hackathon 2020 is focused on the education sector, whereby communication and technological minds have come together to create a functioning software, aimed at easing paperweight and promoting digital recording and learning.
Hackathon 2020 is being held under the theme: Digitalizing our education system for 2020 and beyond.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Center, Prime Minister, Mark Phillips said it brings potential to introduce a new digital product in the education sector.
“This highly anticipated event holds significant potential for the development of tools and products that can benefit our education sector as we forge forward in this digital world. The world today is one which is heavily dependent on technology, more so as we navigate the unpredictable conditions of the coronavirus pandemic,” the PM shared.
In the present circumstances, technology has served as a catalyst to conduct business and other engagement, thereby keeping people safe by reducing human contact. According to Brigadier Phillips, it can also promote innovation and government is in full support of such development.
“Our government has a mandate to ensure that we develop an environment that is conducive to technological development and innovation…Guyana is now on the verge of transformation in the area of ICT, given the recent and long-awaited liberalization of the communication sector. Guyanese can now welcome cheaper and more reliable options for internet access which will enhance Guyana’s technological capacity and infrastructure.”
In relation to the liberalization, he noted that these opportunities must be utilized to transform the economy into one that is supported by technological advancements. For now, the top priority is education
“Our education system is at the top of our priority list, and with the recent changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the world at large, it is imperative now more than ever that we focus our attention on providing solutions to this unforeseen crisis that has shifted the way we operate,” he said.
Those participating in the event includes graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, domain experts. Before the Hackathon event is completed, the intention is to create a functioning student’s records information system that can be used by the Education Ministry. This will digitize registration in various schools. It would be designed to assist with easy access to student information, test scores and monitoring performance among other features.
Meanwhile, Director of Industry and Innovation at the Office of the Prime Minister, Shahrukh Hussain labelled ICT as the way forward, as he examined the detriments brought on by COVID-19.
“The impact on health and wellbeing, livelihoods and economic activities has truly been painful. At the same time, this pandemic has accelerated information and communication technology, which is transforming the way we communicate, work, learn and live.”
While speaking about their work, he noted, “The Industry and Innovation unit is mandated to create an enable environment that will support an ICT-driver private sector, drive economic growth, eliminate social inequalities and more importantly, levelling the playfield for equal access and economic upliftment for all Guyanese.” (Rupa Seenaraine)