The Case for a Ministry of Technology – Pt 2

Russell Williams

National ICT Centre

National ICT Centre

In Part 1, I set out a couple of reasons why I believe we need a dedicated and focused Ministry of Technology, much of the argument was based on the hear and now. In this final part, I will look ahead.

We have all heard and in some cases used the following phrases, “we need to moved to a knowledge economy”, “we must encourage our people to transition from consumers to producers” and “we need to innovate”. But how do we get to that point? What’s the plan and how are we going to get the resources in place? How are we to measure our progress?

Technology is often said to be an enabler, and technology is a cross-cutting tool that underpins all aspects of life, business and government. Nowhere is the potential of technology more evident than in the fields of health and education. If we are to truly realise the shift towards a knowledge economy, then we must have knowledge workers, people who are creative and by extension problem solvers and creative thinkers.

Where are they going to come from and how are they to be creative? How do we instil a culture of “wonder” of “question”? It used to be that one went to school to learn and to ask question, but sadly those days seem to be from a bygone era. As an educator and parent, I can tell you how rare it is for children to ask even the most basic of questions, such as “what does that mean?”, “what does that do?” or “how does that work?”.

If we are to move forward, we need a coherent policy, supported by a clear strategy backed by measurable goals. This “technology” policy, should cut across all ministries and be led by a dedicated Ministry of Technology, replete with skilled and knowledgeable individuals committed to building the nations capacity.

For too long we have simply provided students with laptops without a programme to train teachers in content creation, effective use of technology in education and without putting systems in place for these students to create their own content and programs. The result is that the policy has simply swelled the number of consumers.

For years we have claimed that technology and entrepreneurship are priorities, yet for almost 3½ years the flagship National ICT Centre has been closed. With it, the loss of crucial incubator space for young innovators and entrepreneurs to make a start, and a test centre for aspiring professionals to gain ICT skills certification and accreditation.

So in summation it’s time to match rhetoric with deeds.

Russell Williams

An IT Professional for more than 20 years and an entrepreneur for more than a decade, Russell Williams has extensive experience as an IT Trainer and facilitator and is happy to answer your questions. E-mail them to or follow him on Twitter @RwilliamsKN, G+

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