PRESS RELEASE – TWENTY Saint Lucians received modern computer programming skills training via a twelve-week pilot computer coding workshop.
The workshop was the result of a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, and the Caribbean Science Foundation, and aimed to increase student interest in science and engineering careers—especially that of computer science.
Curriculum Specialist for Technology and Integration, Germain Anthony, said the workshop served to encourage the formation of more globally-competitive ICT companies.
“It really is a bit scary when you think about artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, an internet of things, and realize that we have not participated in developing, producing nor manipulating those things,” Anthony said. “We cannot continue to just be consumers of the latest Samsung or iPhone, with no role to play in the development (of those gadgets).”
Cardinal Warde, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), also serves as the Interim Director of the Caribbean Science Foundation. He encourages more young people to consider a career in the field.
“The big bucks are in computer science where you’re going to make life easy for lots of people by writing code that’s succinct, short, and powerful, using mathematical algorithms and tools to enable computers to do their job faster,” Warde said.
The pilot workshop, funded by the United States Embassy in Barbados, boasted 20 diverse participants spanning gender and age categories. Participants’ ages ranged from 16 to 40, while one-third of the participants were female.
In 21st-century workplaces, computer skills training plays an important role and is crucial on two general levels. Firstly, it is essential for job applicants to possess this knowledge, which makes them more valuable to potential employers and to secure higher-paying jobs. Secondly, it is important that companies use computer training in their new-hire training programmes and employee development initiatives