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Five Ways to Use ICTs to Create Jobs for Liberians

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first_imgDr. Darren WilkinsBy: Dr. Darren Wilkins (Email: DWilkins@SaharaTechnology.Com | Tel: 0777129092 & 0886703789)Liberia is blessed with a youthful population who, unfortunately, upon graduation from school is forced to face the harsh realities of unemployment, and sometimes poverty. According to the United Nations, World Bank and other international agencies, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) can be a driver of economic development. This also means employment. Hence, developed (USA, South Korea et al) and some developing countries (Rwanda, Ghana, and Botswana) have over the years leveraged ICTs to drive their economies. If these countries succeeded in using ICTs to create jobs for their people, why can’t Liberia emulate them? What do we need to start creating jobs for our youthful population? What are some of the ways ICTs can be used to create jobs and achieve sustainable economic growth?Despite the strides we have made over the years, we continue to face challenges in leveraging the greater benefits of ICTs for economic growth and development. Like many countries where ICTs are a major player in economic development, Liberia has met or begun to meet some of the requirements for ICTs to drive its economy. The establishment of a legal and regulatory environment that has created a liberal market; the rapid diffusion of the internet, its services and technologies in the country; a mobile telephony ecosystem that continues to penetrate our society at exponential rates;  the presence of broadband networks, through microwave and the fiber optic technologies which brought relatively increased access to the internet; and the establishment of ICT-focused institutions of learning are, in fact, some of  the “ingredients” needed to leverage ICTs to create employment for the youth.Indeed, it can be argued that there may yet be other ingredients needed, especially, when it comes to the infrastructure component (national fiber optic backbone, electricity, roads/transportation etc,). But, as I mentioned above, we have, and are continuing to make progress in that area. The presence of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) Submarine Optical fiber system  and now the soon-to-be completed CSquare (AKA Google) Metropolitian Area Network (MAN) provide increased access to the internet and ICT.  Major work has been done to increase the transmission and distribution of electricity, and in addition to the works done by the Sirleaf Government on roads in Liberia, the Weah Government has ambitious plans to connect major parts of the country to facilitate transportation for its people.Given all that has been said above, there is a need to build the capacity of those who will form the labor pool. Providing the skills will equip them with the appropriate ICT skills, the awareness and soft skills that give competitive advantage in the labor market. Again, as I said above, some strides have been made in this area, but the new Government should contemplate on building the capacities of the many young men and women to give them the skills required in the new technology “zeitgeist”. These young men and women will understand emerging and trending technologies and prepare themselves to tackle the challenges the come with these times. They will also bring in the necessary innovation that can lead to national economic development and build Liberia to be a hub like Ghana, which is now the home of Google’s Artificial Intelligence and many other innovation centers. These newly skilled young men and women will be the ones to handle both the national and international demands and services.Other factors needed to enable job creation through the ICT sector include putting in place the right social systems. These include: building networks of trust and recognition for workers and employers, social safety nets, and measures to minimize possible negative outcomes of ICT-enabled employment. In addition, there is a need to ensure a secure, efficient, and accountable financial systems for timely payments. Access to finance to support innovation and entrepreneurship should also be available. When all these put in place, we can use the five approaches mentioned in the subsequent paragraphs to create jobs for Liberians.E-Government: A quick way of creating jobs through ICT is when Government invest in its e-Government programs. The e-Government programs are guided by an e-Government strategy that has over 25 programs including e-health, e-education, e-agriculture, e-transportation etc. This document, I believe is still at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.An e-Government program requires all 102 (I stand corrected) Government of Liberia Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) to be connected to a single and secure ICT platform, that allows Government to deliver secure services to its people. With such a setup, a national data center is required. In addition, each of the 102 MACs will have its own IT Department which means jobs for skilled Liberian ICT professionals.E-Commerce. With the right platform in place, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other stakeholders can set up programs that will encourage young Liberians build an e-commerce ecosystem. This ecosystem allows Liberians too own businesses online with brick and mortar warehouses in Liberia to store their goods, while leveraging mobile vehicles for delivery of products and services to their consumers.Require the use of ICTs in Schools: Another way to create jobs through ICT is to require the use and integration of technology in schools. This will create the need for schools’ technology specialists, network administrators and other ICT professionals.Use Smart Cities to Create Jobs: Most cities in the world are going the smart way; they use ICT to manage nearly everything in their environment including but not limited to: water, mobility, electricity and so on.Call Centers and Tech Company Representation: Call centers, local representation of large technology companies Like Dell, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Sony and many more, can lead to the creation of more jobs for young and skilled Liberians. These companies are all English-speaking companies that could leverage our young population and growing nation to enhance their bottom line. A lot of Western technology companies are moving to establish presence in Africa. Most of these companies select Ghana or Ivory Coast, when they are in the sub-region and for obvious reasons. It is high time that we set the stage to encourage them to see Liberia as one of the best places to do business.Take ICTs and ICT programs into rural areas: It is high time we decentralize our ICT activities. We need to go down to the rural areas where we need to reach the people. The building of national telecenters in each county will not only enhance universal access, but will spread ICT in those areas and create more jobs, and at some point, ease the lives of people living in those areas.Finally, the younger population continues to grow and unemployment continues to rise. It high time that we look to other areas outside traditional areas to create jobs and have a better economy. ICTs have the potential to create new jobs while providing services and products to better our lives. We must leverage them to achieve economic development and growth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

CBSE increases exam fees for SCST students by 24 times General to

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first_img[Representational Image]GettyThe Central Board of Secondary Education has increased the board exams fees for students all over and especially for the SC and ST community by 24 times to Rs 1,200 for five subjects. They were paying Rs 50 earlier for five subjects.For students from the general category, the fees have been doubled to Rs 1,500. In addition to this, the general category students will have to pay Rs 300 for an extra subject instead of the initial Rs 150 they were expected to pay. This is the first hike in five years.The cost of exams for students belonging to the SC & ST community was Rs 350. They were asked to pay Rs 50 and the Delhi government covered the difference. However, now they will be asked to pay Rs 1,200.”The increase is after a gap of five years. The fees have been increased for all categories of students in all affiliated schools of CBSE in India and abroad by a resolution if the governing body of the board,” a senior board official told PTI.This new regulation is applicable immediately and schools, which fall under CBSE have been notified to collect the fees, as per the new guidelines. For Class 10 board exams, the fees are collected when the students are in Class 9 and for Class 12 exams, the fees are collected when the students are in class 11.In this case, the CBSE has instructed schools to collect the balance amount in the form of cash from the students. Those who do not pay will not be registered for 2019-20 examinations.”100 per cent visually impaired students are exempted from paying CBSE examination fees,” the official had said.Migration fees which were Rs 150 have been increased to Rs 350. Fees for the CBSE students abroad it has also been doubled. Initially, they had to pay Rs 5,000 for five subjects in classes 10 and 12. Now, they will be paying Rs 10,000. For an additional subject in Class 12, they will have to pay Rs 2,000 as opposed to Rs 1,000 they had to pay earlier.last_img read more

Houston Company Wants To Use Blockchain Technology To Improve Health Record System

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first_img 00:00 /03:31 Listen X If you’re into technology, you have probably heard of Blockchain, a digital accounting method for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.A Houston company wants to use this technology to create a new universal health record system.For this week’s Bauer Business Focus, we sat down with Khalid “Ken” Parekh, founder and CEO of IT services firm Amsys and founder of its subsidiary Amchart.Click on the play button above to listen to the interview. center_img Ed MayberryKen Parekh founded Amsys in 2003. Its subsidiary Amchart aims to use Blockchain technology to create a patient-controlled health data system To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Sharelast_img read more

Rape Victims File Federal Lawsuit Against Howard University

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first_imgA federal lawsuit against Howard University alleges that the school’s failure to swiftly respond to reported rapes on campus led at least one suspect to rape another student.In addition, rape victims who said they were left suicidal from the sex assaults charge that the school did not help them and even let a resident advisor, who was an accused rapist, have access to a key to his purported victim’s dorm room.Two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit said they were so dismayed at the way the school handled the cases that they left Howard for concerns over their safety and mental health. The plaintiffs are referred to as Jane Doe 1 through 5 in the lawsuit, which was filed May 10 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.The plaintiffs are five current and former students who reported sexual assaults at the hands of male students and employees of Howard University in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the lawsuit states.Two of plaintiffs claim the same resident advisor raped them. Jane Doe 1 alleged that she reported the rape to the school and did not receive any response or support, prompting her to complain on Twitter about the school “mishandling” her complaint.Other rape victims came forward to complain about how the school managed their rape cases, including Jane Doe 2. She alleges the school did not investigate her case and that she ended up leaving the university because she no longer felt safe there.Buzzfeed News reported that the assailant allegedly transferred to Howard after being accused of sexual misconduct at UCLA.“Howard’s failure to investigate and effectively resolve Doe 2’s complaint meant the assailant remained on campus as an RA and raped Doe 1 over five months later,” the lawsuit states.Following public criticism and a campus protest as a result of Jane Doe 1’s tweets in 2016, Howard finally reached out to Doe 2 to investigate her 2015 report, the lawsuit stated. In response to Doe 1’s Tweet storm, the school’s dean of student affairs told her “You embarrassed your family by doing that.” To date, the school still has not investigated her case, the lawsuit claims.Doe 1 says she was fired as a resident assistant after reporting her rape, while Doe 2 alleges the school rescinded her financial aid and threatened to refer her debt to a collection agency, the lawsuit alleges.In November 2014, Doe 3 filed a report alleging sexual and physical abuse by a Howard campus police officer. She sought counseling services from the school, which she said did not provide them. Her grades slipped and she was fired from her job due to her untreated emotional distress, the lawsuit states.In March 2016, Doe 4 reported that a male student from the university raped her in a dorm on campus. Days passed before the school responded to her requests about counseling services and to change dorm rooms for her safety, according to the lawsuit. When she asked about academic accommodations to allow her to recover from the assault, university officials said that was up to the individual professors, not the school. In addition, she alleges that school assigned her assailant to her dorm in the new academic year and did not move him out until three weeks later.In April 2015, Doe 5 reported to the school that a male Howard student raped her on campus. Shortly after she reported the assault, the school sent her a letter telling her she wouldn’t be graduating that semester as planned. She tried to make arrangements to take her remaining classes at a community college because she did not feel safe at Howard, the lawsuit states. But she claims that Howard administrators passed her around, and she was unable to get help until an outside advocate intervened. When she finished her classes, she alleges that Howard officials again gave her the runaround, this time about whether the school would accept the credits so she could graduate.Meanwhile, it took the school seven and a half months to investigate her sex assault report—more than three times the period allowed by Howard policy for an investigation. Her assailant was eventually convicted of raping another woman in the District in October 2016, according to the lawsuit.“The University’s actions have exacerbated and extended, rather than corrected, the resulting interference with the educational opportunities of each women,” the lawsuit states.Per university policy, Howard does not comment on pending litigation.last_img read more

UPDATE Randy Britford has turned himself in to po

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first_imgUPDATE: Randy Britford has turned himself in to police.The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man accused of killing one person and seriously injuring another.It happened just before 11 p.m. Thursday in the 11000 block of Oak Arbor Way in the Fosters area. When investigators arrived, they found 38-year-old Jacquire Lafayette Douglas dead on the scene and learned a 38-year-old woman had been taken to DCH Regional Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.Investigators said they learned the victims were involved in a relationship.Randy Britford, 43, who is the woman’s ex-boyfriend, has been charged with murder and attempted murder, but he has not yet been found.If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office at 205-464-8672 or Tuscaloosa Crime Stoppers at 205-752-7867.last_img read more