- Rajesh Jeetah
SPEECH - Launching of the Free WiFi Zone under the Intelligent Mauritius Partnership Programme (IMPP) - Open University of Mauritius Campus, Curepipe,
Tuesday 23 September 2014 at 18.00 hours
· The Hon. TassarajenPillayChedumbrum, Minister of Information and Communication Technology
· Mrs Ayesha Jeewa, Chairperson of the Open University of Mauritius
· Mr Shyam Roy, CEO of Emtel
· Mr GiandevMoteea, Chairman of the IMPP
· Dr K S Sukon, Director-General of the Open University of Mauritius
· Chairpersons, Chief Executives, Directors
· Distinguished guests
· Members of the press
It is with a great pleasure that I address you this evening.
First of all, let me thank my colleague Hon Minister PillayChedumbrum for extending the free Wi-Fi zone to the Open University of Mauritius. I would also like to thank Emtel for its support.
In fact, the use of technology is no more an option.Since the last decade, we are witnessing how technological innovations are reshaping the way we live, learn and work at such an alarming rate, that the only constant is change itself. We must stay curious, anticipateand adapt to technology.
According to Erik Brynjolfsson from MIT, we have entered The Second Machine Age. It is an age where machines and computers can perform complex and “intelligent” tasks that were once considered uniquely human. From self-driving cars to new technologies that can diagnose illnesses, these innovations challenge us to rethink our roles in the workplace. In this digital age, existing jobs are being redefined and new jobs created.
This Second Machine Age has serious implications. And one thing is clear - education must equip our learners. There are several strategies that we can adopt in order to respond to the changing world.
In this IT age, digital literacy serves the same function as basic literacy that is allowing our students to learn better, to be ready for the exciting future, which they will live and work in. Being digitally literate is not just being equipped with technical skills; it is about being equipped with the 21st century competencies to collaborate with others, engage in lifelong learning through technology, and make the space they live in a better one.
Another strategy is to empower our lecturers to leverage a wider range of ICT-enabled pedagogy so that every learner succeeds. I understand that a digital community is also being set up to promote technology enabled teaching and learning. A good technological tool placed in the hands of a skilful lecturer can breathe life into lecture, and turn lectures into life. Our lecturers must be grounded in strong andragogy and have the knowledge to use ICT meaningfully and appropriately. Whatever the technological advances, a caring and skilful lecturer must remain at the heart of a good education system. But the roles and skills of a lecturer will change. To be masters of technology, our lecturers must adapt and learn - learn new skills and new ways of teaching and learning; learn how the young today are using technology.
My ministry together with the public universities is working on the setting up of a Centre for Big Data and High Computing. As you know, digitalisation is creating more data than ever before and it is considered that such data is an important tool in decision making. There are large amounts of data from the web, sensors and smartphones. We need more skills in how to use these big data and analyse what has been called the ocean of information in all fields - meteorology, genomics, complex physics and biological and environmental research. It is important to know that eBay.com uses two data warehouses for search, consumer recommendations, and merchandising.
Amazon.com handles millions of back-end operations every day, as well as queries from more than half a million third-party sellers. As from 2005, it had the world’s three largest databases. Walmart handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour, which are imported into databases estimated to contain more than 2.5 petabytes (2560 terabytes) of data – the equivalent of 167 times the information contained in all the books in the US Library of Congress.
The goal of my ministry is to bring out the best in everyone enrolled in our tertiary education institutions. Access to internet is one very important means of increasing access to knowledge and reaching out to people. I am pleased that with the help of the Ministry of ICT, free Wi-Fi is now available at the University of Mauritius and the University of Technology. With this new site at the Open University, WI-FI is being made accessible to a total of about 18,000 higher education students.
This is the real meaning of democratisation of higher education and giving equal opportunities and chances to each student.
Thank you for your attention
Posted by Rajesh Jeetah at 4:24 PM