21 June 2006

The Web
Business Today

New community technology centre at UHM

A new centre for technology and learning has been opened at the premises of the Union Haddiema Maghqudin in Floriana. This centre is the fourth in a series of community centres forming part of the HelloIT programme, which is administered by the Ministry of Investment, Industry and IT. The aim of these centres is to increase accessibility to new technologies and lifelong learning in the community.
Investment, Industry and Information Technology Minister Austin Gatt said information and communication technologies were tools that could bring new opportunities and better living standards. He said the HelloIT programme attempted to provide inclusive education for those in the lower social strata and should eventually create an information-conscious society that could meet the challenges of tomorrow.
The launch was attended by Franz Scherz, Managing Director for HP Country Development Group. Scherz explained: “HP’s ‘e-inclusion’ initiative is to provide people with access to greater social and economic opportunities by closing the gap between technology-empowered and technology-excluded communities.”
This centre will provide a number of services where the people will feel comfortable to go and try out technology for themselves. The services include access to broadband internet, learning programmes, training and employment services, programmes for persons with a disability and specialised programmes for children, adults and housewives on the use of eGovernment services.
The aid amounts to a capital injection of Lm9,000 plus an extra Lm8,500 yearly to cover recurrent expenses. The other three centres are at ACCESS Centre in Vittoriosa, the National Council of Women’s offices in Blata l-Bajda, and at the Eden Foundation Complex at Bulebel. Dr Gatt said two other centres would be opened soon at the Richmond Foundation and the first centre in Gozo.
These centres are being set up with the help of Microsoft (software, and funding), HP (hardware and curriculum for learning programme), Maltacom (internet and telephone equipment) and Enemalta (water and electricity expenses).

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