Region lags behind in Artificial Intelligence

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Region still lagging behind application of Artificial Intelligence
  • OECS Youth Empowered Society project aimed at solving issues affecting OECS youth

Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), His Excellency Dr Didacus Jules, says the region is still lagging behind the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the various sectors of the economy.

Dr Jules lamented that the region still has a low degree of tertiary education especially in the area of technical skills.

“There is a lot of work to be down by Caribbean states when it comes to bridging the gap because we are way behind. The Caribbean has a very low degree of tertiary education, and I am not talking about tertiary education. I am not talking about academics; I am also talking about in terms of skills industry relevant certification. The BCC has been running a programme on Artificial Intelligence, and the big debate now is that all the jobs will be transformed by AI. We are so far behind, so that’s why tertiary education must become a vital focus, plugging the gaps within the school system.”

Dr Jules commended the government for strategically placed at the helm Hon. Pamela Moses as the minister within the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and Religious Affairs with responsibility for Tertiary Development. This move he says will serve to ensure that Grenadians can access higher education in industry-relevant industries.

The OECS will be working closely with government to implement the OECS Youth Empowered Society project (YES), geared at empowering young people at various levels. The project is based on the need for greater attention to be given to solving the issues affecting OECS youth. Several areas highlighted as crucial to achieving the desired objective follow:

  • YES I Belong – Citizenship & Identity
  • YES I Earn – Employment & Entrepreneurship
  • YES I Express – Creativity & Culture
  • YES I Inherit – Environment & Sustainable Development
  • YES I Learn – Education & Training
  • YES I Matter – Child & Youth Protection
  • YES I Move – Healthy Lifestyles

Dr Jules said this initiative is unique in that it gets young people involved in the development of this strategy. “The shaping of this strategy involves crowdsourcing of ideas from the youth themselves. We are inviting the youth of the region to tell us what their aspirations are, tell us what are the things that they would like to see put in place, so that they can take responsibility to shape their own destiny. It is vital we empower youth to take control of their future and to harness their collective views through a range of innovative digital mediums.”

A feature of this initiative will also be a Digital Internship Programme, where young persons will be able to learn digital marketing skills underneath the leadership of Digital Marketing Consultant to the OECS Anushka Singh, while contributing to the development and execution of the online campaign.  Applications for the Digital Internship Programme are due on 22 June. Follow OECS YES on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit  www.oecsyes.org for more information.

During the recently held 29th Intersessional meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government in Haiti, outgoing chairman Dr Keith Mitchell spoke highly of the need to maximise the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), a major tool in driving development. “This would enhance the environment for investment, productivity, and innovation; support a sustainable increase in growth and jobs; enhance efficiency in and increase access to public services and to facilitate progress in the sector and improve our technological resilience.” Dr Mitchell noted a roadmap for a Single ICT Space was approved in July.

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