Canadian University Services Overseas (Cuso) International is a Canadian International development organization whose mission is to eradicate poverty and empower youth. In Jamaica, they work with local civil society and government organizations across Kingston to support local beneficiaries. In collaboration with its local partners and stakeholders, Cuso has coined World of Tech Day which aims to organize and engage, empower and inspire Jamaican high school students with the knowledge to explore the rapidly growing field of technology and innovation.
World of Tech Day
Under the theme, ‘Think. Imagine. Create’, the opening ceremony for the World of Tech Day was ingenious. With 100 attendees from 7 high schools and youth programs, the atmosphere of the Wolmer’s Boys School’s Auditorium vibrated with excitement and anticipation for what was going to happen next. The speeches given throughout the morning not only intrigued the students but also implored them to capitalize on the opportunity that they have been given.
As Regional Representative for Cuso International in the Caribbean, greetings were given by Miss Roberta Ellis. Her greeting was well received as she urged the students to make the most of the unique opportunity. Boasting about the dynamic and rapid growth in the technological sector, she encouraged the youth to remain focused and learn as much as they can as they work toward their future:
Beginning with a Daniel Bell quote, “Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination” Miss Aaliyah Campbell gave the opening remarks. Miss Campbell is a sixth form student at the Ardenne High School, as well as the Vice President of the school’s Robotics club. She commended the organizers for putting on the much-needed workshop as ‘technology is the fastest growing and advancing aspect of the economy today’. Miss Campbell, then charged the workshop attendees to imagine and work on creating the future they want with technology before making way for the Honourable Fayval Williams:
The Honourable Fayval Williams, Minster of Science, Energy and Technology could not hide her excitement for this initiative. She expressed that similar workshops are needed in order to bridge the digital divide, promote digital skills and increase connectivity. Reminding the students that they are the future, she urged them to develop the necessary skills needed to meet digital change. Commencing her speech, she ‘prophesied’ that the next big invention will come from Jamaica. With the children being the day’s focus, a word of advice to the students was inevitable:
The Honourable Minister’s speech provided an excellent segue for that of Mr Nicholas Kee. The students paid keen attention to Mr Kee, founder of NextGen Coders’ speech. While commending the students who were developing and utilizing codes of their own, he also encouraged the others to become coders. During his presentation he was able to illustrate a technological utopia:
The Keynote Address was given by Her Excellency Laurie Peters; Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica. With technological development as the centre of the High Commissioner’s speech, she spoke about the importance of youth being involved in the development of digital policies. She made mention of the innovations that were created by Canadians through the use of technology. She even gave her own anecdote about how technology can fail so it’s good to remember the benefits of doing things manually.
Representing ‘Girl Power’ Her Excellency made sure to give a special ‘big up’ to the girls in tech as, “there are not enough of those”. She emphasised that there must be a push to get girls involved in all aspects of STEM so that there can be an equal field of opportunity for everyone.
Her Excellency challenged the youth to not be solely caught up in the world of technology but to also engage the human aspects of the world:
The students were left empowered, excited and eager to learn:
The day featured tech stations, career talks, workshops, coding and robotics demonstrations. The intended outcome of ‘World of Tech’ is for students to realize the powerful potential of technology to unlock the keys to their success in any industry and harness change. Participating schools and institutions include; Ardenne High, Wolmer’s Boys’, Wolmer’s Girls’ School, Camperdown High, Rise Life Management Services, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) and the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation.