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TECH ROUND UP

Bahamian School Launches Mobile App

AKHEPRAN Academy made history by becoming the first Bahamian school to launch its own Mobile Application. The school hosted parents and students, to a pre-launch event for the Application (App), where developer Lincoln Bain, gave a live demonstration of many of the app's features. 

According to Bain, the App allows users to view photos of school activities, access subject specific videos through the E-Learning tab, use Google map tracking to pinpoint field trip directions and locations, and more.

The school's Founder and Principal, former Senator, Dr. Jacinta Higgs, says she is excited about this new dimension in the school’s growth, and sees this as a needed component in her vision of creating a 21st century school, where each child is reached. With communication development at the forefront of this latest advancement, Akhepran has undoubtedly once again struck success in claiming new ground in education regionally.

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More Than 700 Jamaican Girls Engaged In Computer Coding

More than 700 girls across the island were engaged in simultaneous computer programming classes last week Thursday, December 10th to Saturday, December 12th as part of the ‘Jamaican Girls Code’, programme.

The programme is designed to target girls between the ages of 12 and 14 and introduce young girls to the male dominated field of computer coding or programming. 

During the three days, girls who are registered were able to log onto jamaicangirlscoding.com and participate in the activity from any computer or tablet with internet connectivity. Community access points across Jamaica were also made available to facilitate the event. 

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, said the initiative aims to get females interested in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) field.

“Right now there is a severe gender imbalance in terms of males dominating the software development and coding professions,”, pointing out that the field is male dominated, with 90 per cent of the professionals being men.

“The programme is trying to help young ladies get an understanding as to what is involved in having a career in coding and also to encourage more of them to get involved in the harder core ICT disciplines and to eventually see it as a potential career, and as a way of empowering themselves as women,” the State Minister said.

He also challenged young ladies to use this knowledge to develop solutions to problems, as well as develop products and solutions, which can earn foreign exchange for the country.

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Kalinago Territory to benefit from Computer Center

Residents of all ages from the Kalinago Territory in Dominica will now be able to access training and expertise in computer-related skills offered through a computer centre in Salybia.

In keeping with its mandate, the Ministry of Kalinago Affairs has embarked on the development of the computer centre, and with the full support of the National Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (NTRC) able to secure the main operative computers and printer for the project.

The Community Development Officer (Youth) within the Ministry has spearheaded the initiative from its inception and garnered resources from various agencies to renovate the existing Tunubuku Reference Library in Salybia to house the centre. This initiative is projected to positively impact the youth and all members of the community with a special emphasis on harnessing the creativity endowed in our people and also develop computer literacy as a relevant part of human education.

The centre is expected to focus on a variety of learning modules which will train individuals of the community in an array of computer skills, and will also provide basic information technology related services. The facility has been recently fitted with a 5.5 Kw solar system, from the wider Kalinago Solar Project, which will make it the first ‘green computer centre’ on the island.

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Jamaica's Universal Service Fund Failing To Collect Millions In Call Taxes From Companies 

The Universal Service Fund has been found to be delinquent in collecting millions from telecommunications companies who fail to pay over taxes from international phone calls. The Auditor General’s Department says as at March 2015, $117.8 million was owed to the Fund in universal service levy from carriers.

Jamaica imposes a tax on all inbound international calls that terminate in the country. The claims were contained in an Auditor General’s Department report which was tabled in parliament last week.

The department says it noted the debt during an activity-based audit of the Fund which covers the period April 2012 to October 31st, 2015. The Universal Service Fund is mandated to collect the universal service levy.

The department says the Fund has since informed that it has collected $52.5 million of the delinquent amounts reported at March 2015. However, this leaves $65.3 million outstanding.

Governments around the world make use of Universal Service Funds, to finance technology and internet access projects to under-served communities and groups.

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