Bridging the Digital Divide

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The Government of Liberia has disclosed that it has embarked upon a lofty Information Communication Technology (ICT) project to provide a modern computer lab at each public high school across the nation.
According to the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr. Frederick Norkeh, setting up each lab will cost the government between US$25,000 to US$35,000. He further stated that each school will have between 25 to 50 computers.
The nation’s Post Master General further said the project is intended to “bridge the digital divide that exists between most young people in Monrovia and those in the hinterland.”
Presently, according to Dr. Norkeh, as he was briefing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf concerning the project, three schools have now equipped. They include Sinoe Multilateral High (SMH) and Tubman High in Sinoe County, as well as the Central High School in Grand Kru County.
At the SMH computer lab, which the President had gone to dedicate on Friday, July 24, the Minister Norkeh told the President that at the moment they had only installed the 25 brand new computers and in the coming months, they would connect all of them to the Internet to enhance the learning process for students at each of those high schools.
Speaking with the Daily Observer at the Barclayville Central High School in Grand Kru County, Education Minister George K. Werner stated that he was grateful to the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO) for partnering with the Ministries of Education and Posts and Telecommunications to undertake the project.
Mr. Werner further said that his Ministry wants an educational system that produces Liberian students who can make meaningful contributions to the economy of the state, “not just for today, but tomorrow.”
“So what this computer lab will do, it will give students the skills they need to navigate the World Wide Web but also to find opportunities for themselves,” he said.
Min. Werner also stated that in a brief conversation he had with Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan on that day, he had asked the Foreign Minister if it would be possible for students and others to apply for passport or scholarships once the computers are hooked to the Internet without them coming down to Monrovia, as is the case at the moment. “So this opens up a lot of huge opportunities for students and people of the county,” he added.
In order to keep the project alive and running, he disclosed that four students in the 12th grade, two boys and two girls, would be brought to Monrovia and trained and those students will come back to manage the labs.

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