Puerto Rico joins Jamaica and Dominican Republic in Caribbean School of Data
March 23, 2020…Kingston, Jamaica. Puerto Rico joins three other Caribbean countries to benefit from the Caribbean School of Data (CSOD), a regional initiative that seeks to improve digital literacy among marginalized youth populations.
An initiative by Google.org and the Caribbean Open Institute (COI)- which comprises the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and the SlashRoots Foundation; the CSOD is designed to enable, over a period of two years, the training of at least 1,500 young men and women, aged 16-30 in seven Caribbean countries.
The Puerto Ricanleg of the project was facilitated by partners Pilot 151 and CodeTrotters of Puerto Rico and was staged at the Creole Center of Science and Technology in Caguas (C3Tec).
“Puerto Rico was in our plans from the beginning and in September 2019 we identified the ideal entity to land the initiative on the Island.” said Dr. Maurice McgNaughton, Director of the Centre for Excellence at Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and Principal Investigator for the CSOD project.
Sofia Stolberg, of Pilot 151, commented on the importance of technology and programmes like the CSOD, saying “When we talk about the economy, we talk about the digital economy. It is ubiquitous in every business and industry. Our interactions, whether with the government, in commerce, whether it is an economic or social activity, take place through digital interaction. . Educating our children in this field is essential to guarantee them opportunities in the future. “
Mayor of Caguas, William Miranda Torres, who was in attendance added “The modern world interacts and moves through technology and in Caguas we are aware of this reality. In this direction, we recently completed a digitalization study that was only possible through the data available in our systems. By educating our young people in Open Data not only expand the opportunities of these young people but also contribute to the growth of our country and we are committed to an industry that plans to match or exceed the assets or assets of our current economy such as oil or gold.”
C3Tec and its director, Tasha Endara will administer the programme, and will target between 300-400 students per year, starting with a class of 30 students from the central-eastern region. Students will be given access to technology and course material,guided facilitation through to the completion of their final projects – problem-solving for real-world business case scenarios. Areas of study of the programme include fundamentals of being digital, productivity tools for digital workers, social networks and web applications, fundamentals of data and critical thinking and problem solving.
Notably, the CSOD has also launched a cohort in the Dominican Republic, where students are currently being trained; and in Jamaica, where the first group of students graduated on February 7, 2020. New groups of participants are scheduled to begin courses in Guyana, Saint Lucia early this year.
According to the Inter-American Development Bank, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 represent an average of 25% of the workforce in the English-speaking Caribbean, and approximately one in five people between the ages of 15 to 24 is not in school or is part of the workforce. The IADB said that has Caribbean relatively low levels of innovation and education, key components of economic growth, and that without improvements in the labour force this could limit medium-term development.
Google.org is Google’s philanthropic branch that was founded in October 2005. It works to expand the reach of nonprofit innovators and connect them with a unique mix of support that includes funds, tools and volunteers from Google. The objective of Google.org is to bring the best of Google to boost the work and accelerate the progress of these innovations that have the greatest impact on the communities they represent and whose work has the potential to produce significant changes that can escalate globally.
About Caribbean Open Institute
The Caribbean Open Institute (COI) is a regional coalition of organizations that promotes open development approaches to inclusion, participation and innovation within the Caribbean, using open data as a catalyst. The COI’s primary activities in Capacity building, Advocacy and Research, are funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
About Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM)
Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM), UWI Mona, is the premier Business School in the region and offers a suite of undergraduate and graduate programmes including the internationally accredited MBA. Its mandate is to be the arm of the University that facilitates effective business education and practices in the private and public sectors in order to advance the economic development agenda of Jamaica and the region.
About The SlashRoots Foundation
The SlashRoots Foundation has partnered with a variety of government agencies, development organisations, academic institutions and private sector organizations to better use technology, user-centred design and data to improve public services and create innovative solutions to complex problems. They believe that digital technologies create new opportunities to address social ills and aim to help organizations incorporate these values into their work.