Community Technological Empowerment Centre (C-TEC) - Jamaica

Project Organization

Northgate Centre for Global Impact

Project Location

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and is English-speaking with a population of 2.8 million. The vast majority of the population (91%) is of West African descent. The economy relies heavily on mining and tourism. After economic difficulties in the 1990s, where inflation reached levels over 80%, by 2006 the economic situation stabilized so that unemployment reduced to 8.9% and inflation to 6%.

Project Description

C-TEC offers training, workshops and seminars in computer technology to all ages and individuals that are willing to learn. Special no cost training is offered to basic schools in depressed communities and highly subsidized services to all schools in and around the Ocho Rios area.

Project Rationale

A massive technological divide currently exists in the delivery of education in Jamaica. Computers are not owned or easily accessed by a large majority of the middle and lower classes. Often schools do not have adequate systems to facilitate the consistent technological training of their students and teachers, and public libraries are not fully equipped to meet the growing demand of people wanting to learn and use current technology. C-TEC aims to provide this access at a subsidized rate in order that people of all backgrounds have access and the opportunity to empower themselves. C-TEC also aims to bridge the generational gap between the old and young in relation to technology, with programs specifically targeted at senior citizens and children.

Project Activities

Various types of training are offered by C-TEC, ranging from computer classes for adults and children to one day workshops and summer camps. Numerous primary and high school children from disadvantaged areas of Jamaica are receiving ongoing training. The centre also operates a Cyber café offering internet and office services.

Project Impact

C-TEC has served the needs of more than 7 schools (basic, primary and high) and community colleges in Jamaica. In addition, the centre has targeted teachers, school staff and senior citizens on the island. Participants have expressed increased confidence in using various computer packages and accessing the internet. This has helped students with their studies and adults with using technology in relation to their employment. Funding from Teens for Technology in the U.S. and the Jamaica Committee will expand C-TEC’s infrastructure during 2008.