The long awaited C@ribNet is a research and education network that was introduced under the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network Project (CKLN) to connect all regional tertiary institutions, research institutes and civil institutions engaged in knowledge formation.
C@ribNET is expected to cost US$20-million to implement and the European Union (EU) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) are giving support to this initiative that is conceptualised as “a vehicle that would allow citizens, communities, governments, public officials, entrepreneurs and students to communicate, collaborate, form partnerships and harmonise activities across the region.”
Chief Executive Officer of CKLN, Ken Sylvester, in an update to the 20th Meeting of Council for Human and Social Development on Tuesday, stated that C@ribNet would help to “reduce the brain drain in the Caribbean by fostering the development and use of e-Learning platforms and technologies…”
He outlined the design of the fibre optic network which would connect all CARICOM Member States in the first instance and subsequently, the rest of the world and told the COHSOD that of the 20 countries to benefit from this CKLN-driven initiative, at least eight would be connected by the first quarter of 2011.
However, while all systems were seemingly in place to realise this vision, Mr. Sylvester pointed out that capacity building in Members State was an important pre-requisite to launching the Network in all targeted countries.
In addition, he said that for CKLN to move ahead, it would have to be ratified as an Inter-Governmental Agency. CKLN was established as a Foundation registered in Grenada under the oversight of CARICOM. Heads of Government had since mandated the CARICOM Secretariat to establish the CKLN as an Inter-Governmental Agency, replacing the CKLN Foundation.
Mr. Sylvester pointed out that installation of the technological elements for C@ribNET could only commence when at least seven Member States ratify the Agreement to establish CKLN and that the installation of equipment could only occur in countries that had ratified the Agreement.
The good news however is that, to date, nine Member States had signed the Agreement with three others giving firm commitments.
In light of this, the COHSOD reminded Member States of the Mandate from Heads of Government and urged those who had not yet signed the Agreement to do so as soon as possible so that CKLN could continue to realise the vision of one seamless tertiary system in a Community for All.