USF commissions multimillion-dollar computer lab at school for deaf

USF commissions multimillion-dollar computer lab at school for deaf

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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The Caribbean Christian Centre for the Deaf (CCCD) is better equipped to serve its students thanks to a new multimillion-dollar computer lab donated by the Universal Service Fund (USF).

The computer lab was commissioned on Tuesday October 8 and was completed at a cost of $7.5 million dollars. The facility has been outfitted with 15 computers and workstations, multifunction printers, air conditioning units and a server. The facility also boasts a solar system to offset the institution's energy costs and will cater to the students of the CCCD and the wider community.

In outlining the impact that the computer lab will have, executive director of the school Tashi Widmer said advancements in technology have helped facilitate greater communication between the hearing and the hearing impaired. This communication she said, has helped individuals to develop a better understanding of the deaf community and deaf culture and to see people who are hearing impaired as individuals with special skills and talents and not just as people who cannot hear.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, chief technical director in the Ministry of Science Energy and Technology Wahkeen Murray said UNESCO estimates that 15 per cent of the world's population live with at least one disability.

Murray, who was representing the Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Fayval Williams, added that information and communication technologies have the potential to make significant improvements in the lives of these persons, allowing them to enhance their social and economic integration in communities by enlarging the scope of activities available to them.

“Through the Universal Service Fund, the ministry will continue to support the vulnerable community. To this end, $50 million have been earmarked to finance projects aimed at using technology to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities,” Murray said.

The project is the latest in a series of initiatives being spearheaded by USF to assist members of the special needs community.

USF began operation as the Universal Access Company Limited following a Ministerial Order which mandated that all domestic telecommunications providers are obligated to collect a universal service levy on all inbound telephone calls.

The levy is imposed on international calls terminating on local networks. Calls terminating on fixed lines incur a levy of US$0.03 and US$0.02 on mobile lines.

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