BELMOPAN–Belize will move in 2015 to break ground for a new Science Technology and Innovation Institute, which Dr. Colin Young, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Energy, Science & Technology and Public Utilities, said will be designed to reflect the findings of extensive studies being carried out by Korean partners working along with the Ministry.
In his New Year’s message this year, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow said that 2015 will be the year of technology in Belize, with the Government also gifting an Asus tablet (made in Taiwan) to each tertiary level student in Belize. He said that 9,000 such tablets will be purchased for distribution. At the high school level, Government plans to finance improvements of computer labs.
Barrow also announced that the Government will provide free Wi-Fi Internet access for specified hours to the public, at a designated park in each of the 9 municipalities as well as in Belmopan. He said that Belize Telemedia Limited and the Belize City Council are already working to provide a similar free service to residents of Belize City.
Barrow mentioned but did not elaborate on plans to establish a technology institute in Belmopan.
According to CEO Young, the Koreans are working with Belize to develop a national science, technology and innovation strategy for Belize and secondly, on a feasibility study for the institute, which the Belize government hopes to establish in partnership with the Koreans.
Young said that the size and specs of the institute will be decided based on the study by the Koreans, but the Prime Minister has resolved that they will proceed.
The Koreans are due back in the country in February to continue their research, which is expected to be completed by June-July of 2015.
Young said that the technology institute will focus on the STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The institute will be staffed by national and international professors and instructors, said Young, adding that the idea is that if Belize doesn’t have all needed personnel, they can reach out to the Diaspora.
Apart from catering to Belizeans, the institute would also be open to students from the region.
Young said that the idea is to create an institute that will produce the kinds of services demanded by the private sector.