Gov't sign MOU to manage geographical information systems in schools
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to manage the geographical information systems (GIS) technology in 57 secondary and tertiary schools.
The MOU follows an Enterprise Licence Agreement by the Government of Jamaica last year for the provision of unlimited supply of geospatial technology by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), which is the leading supplier of GIS software and products globally.
Included in that is an arrangement for the GIS technology to be implemented in the selected schools for educational, training and research purposes.
The GIS is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and present all types of spatial or geographical data.
The MOU, signed at a ceremony at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston on May 4, allows for the streamlining of the deployment and distribution of the products and software across the educational institutions by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, which will administer the site licence agreement associated with implementation.
Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Educational Planning Unit of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dasmine Kennedy, said the signing of the MOU is commendable and timely.
She argued that the initiative is being provided at a time when robust efforts are underway to ensure equitable access to quality education for all children.
“It is envisaged that the competence developed under such a condition will bolster human capital development and will in turn boost economic growth,” she said.
Kennedy lauded the partnership being forged with the National Spatial Data Management Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation under the agreement, to provide support and training to fully optimise the use of the software in the institutions.
She said the Ministry is committed to establishing an implementation committee to monitor and provide guidance under the terms of the agreement, and to ensure the integration of GIS in the Social Studies and Geography curriculum in secondary schools.
Kennedy noted that the benefits of the GIS technology include: the facilitation of the design, implementation and evaluation of interventions; strengthening of the Ministry’s strategic planning process; information sharing across Government entities; and promoting exploration, discovery and student-centred enquiry.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell, noted that GIS has become a part of Jamaica’s mainstream business and management operations in industries such as utilities, telecommunications, banking and finance, retailing and agriculture.
She said that while it is of “enormous potential” for schools, it is also useful for planners, emergency responders and policymakers in the push for community development and nation building.
The GIS Enterprise Licence for Schools was signed with Spatial Innovision Limited, the local and regional distributors for ESRI software.