The following ICT initiatives and projects are currently running in Mauritius in the areas of Education and Capacity Building, Infrastructure, eGovernment Services and Green ICT.
The Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3), which was developed by Certiport Incorporation (USA) is the first globally accepted, standards-based, validated certification program for basic computing skills. The IC3 certificate as a starting milestone in the ICT education roadmap is also a stepping stone for more advanced ICT certification for career advancement as well as meeting Government's objective of increasing the number of persons with specialised IT skills to boost the ICT industry. The IC3 course is provided at 95% discount over published prices. The IC3 training course is of 45 hrs and training are done in state secondary colleges after school hours. To date some 150,000 people have already been trained.
The National Computer Board has launched the UIEP Phase II whereby more than 2700 online professional IT and non-IT courses are being made available at very interesting prices to all those who complete the IC3 or already have a recognised certificate in IT in January 2010. The courses modules are bundled into 15 separate packages and includes course materials leading to popular certifications such as MCSE, MCSA, MCAD, CISCO, CompTia, Oracle, A+, N+, Server+, Linux, Project Management etc.
To date, some 625 participants are already following their respective courses online.
The objective of the Community Empowerment Programme (CEP) is to facilitate the process for the community to make use of ICT to fully participate in the socio-economic development of Mauritius. The CEP is in line with the Government programme to encourage the development of local content and creativity. The CEP will contribute for the development of Mauritius in the following ways:
- Bring together the country's development stakeholders to build a strong online network of local, regional and global development communities on the web. Address the needs of various communities in Mauritius including NGOs, academic and private sectors and professionals.
- Democratise access to ICT.
- Provide comprehensive, high quality information about the country, its economic and social structure.
- Help to reduce the "Digital Divide" by providing concerned online information.
- Stimulate the development and production of local content on the Internet.
To date, 172 computer clubs with free Internet access have been set up in 23 youth centres, 17 women centres, 53 social welfare centres, 74 community centres and 3 day-care centres across the island. Around 300,000 people have been able to make use of the facilities. It is envisaged to spread computer clubs in 118 more Centres during 2012 including village hall and NGOs. A CEP web portal will host the contents of 80 villages online.
One hundred and one Public Internet Access Points (PIAPs) have been set up in Post Offices (96 in Mauritius and 5 in Rodrigues) and around 138,000 people have been able to make use of the facilities. This service is provided free to disabled, orphans, senior citizens, unemployed and a nominal fee for other users.
Launched in November 2000, the Cyber Caravan Project aims at making IT facilities available to the community. The NCB presently operates three Cyber Caravans, which are equipped with 9, 10 and 21 PCs respectively and broadbandInternet connection. Training on ICT Awareness and IC3 on a regional basis is provided on board the Cyber Caravan. To date, about 166,000 people have been initiated in basic IT Skills (2 hrs course) and IC3 (45 hrs course).
The Government Online Centre (GOC), operational since May 2005, is a centralised data centre that supports e-Government initiatives. The GOC hosts the Government Web Portal (GWP), which provides secured online Government services round-the-clock. Being a common platform for Ministries and Departments, the GOC enables the optimisation of IT investment for the public sector. 130 websites are being hosted for Ministries and Departments and 75 for Parastatal Bodies.
The Government Web Portal (GWP) is a one-stop-shop providing comprehensive information and enabling online applications on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis in a user-friendly manner. The GWP consists of a homepage and four sub-portals, namely, Citizen, Government, Non-Citizen and Business.
The GWP has a dedicated eServices section for online applications. This eServices section enables the submission of online applications, the receipt of online acknowledgements and the online tracking of the status of applications, amongst others. To date, 65 eServices are available online on the Government Web Portal. There has been an exponential growth of use of eServices especially the eFiling of income tax.
GOC also provides Internet access to over 180 secondary schools and 265 primary schools and Internet & E-mail facilities to over 8,000 employees of Ministries and Departments.
With the setting up of a National Internet Exchange Point (NIXP) on the GOC platform, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Mauritius can peer through to GOC so that local bandwidth is contained in Mauritius thereby saving on international bandwidth.
The CERT-MU mission is to provide information and assistance to its constituents in implementing proactive measures to reduce the risks of information security incidents as well as responding to such incidents as and when they occur.
The CERT-MU has now been affiliated to the Forum for Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), a premier organisation and recognised global leader in incident response. This achievement will motivate the CERT-MU to respond more effectively to security incidents as it will now have access to best practices, appropriate tools and trusted communication with the international CERTs.
The NCB ICT Incubator Centre was set up to encourage young entrepreneurs to create start-ups in the ICT sector by providing them with logistic and business support. The NCB-ICT Incubator centre has benefited from financial assistance from the infoDev Capacity Building Grant - Support for new and start-up incubators in developing country in 2004.
The ICT Incubator Centre is being revamped into the Technopreneurship concept. BizSpark is a program offered by Microsoft to encourage innovation, creativity and promote Technopreneurship amongst today's most promising start ups by providing access to software, tools and resources at a stage where they need it most but can least afford it. The NCB Incubator has teamed up with Microsoft BizSpark as a Network Partner for Mauritius to offer the Microsoft BizSpark Program: the innovative global program designed to help accelerate the success of Software ICT start ups by providing them the Software they want, the Support they need and the Visibility they deserve.
The Ministry of ICT is looking forward to phasing in the introduction of electronic identity cards. The eID card will contain various personal details of its owner. Besides the basic identity information in visual form, it will also be used as a health card, pension card, buss pass and even a pass to access governmental services, be it on- or off-line. The card will procure access to secured areas, payment of pensions and social security benefits, electronic purses, and driving licences. Mauritius' objective is to be the first country in the region to deliver eID cards to its citizens.
Several initiatives are under way to promote education through the use of ICT in the education sector. The government has embarked on an e-education plan, envisaging e-education projects such as the e-education portal and school administration systems. Likewise, the Government is implementing the Sankoré project, whose objective is to facilitate the provision of education to children through innovative technological means. It involves equipping all schools with low-cost digital interactive equipment (projectors and laptops) as well as providing educational software, thereby furnishing an infinite variety of pedagogical tools for both teachers and students. This will make the teaching/learning process more creative and lively and have a positive impact on the performance of pupils, thus contributing massively to improvement of their education
A Public Key Infrastructure Ecosystem has recently been launched to make e-commerce and e-business more secure. The Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) as the regulator is the Controller of Certification Authorities. The NCB is partnering with E-Mudhra, an Indian certification agency to issue digital certificates in Mauritius.
An ICT Skills Development Programme was launched in October 2012 to address the mismatch of ICT Skills and to cater for the increasing demand of manpower in the ICT/BPO industry. It is estimated that the ICT Sector would require an additional workforce of 15,000 persons in the next few years. The ICT Skills Development Programme comprises two incentive schemes for ICT/BPO companies namely the Training and Work Placement Scheme whereby ICT/BPO companies are encouraged to train unemployed youths having an SC, HSC, Diploma and/or Degree on an industry led Mauritius Qualification Authority (MQA) approved course and to offer them a placement following the training. The ISDP scheme entitles ICT/BPO companies to claim the refund of up to 50% of the training costs.
The second scheme, the Work-Based Learning for University Students scheme, allows Employers to identify talents before graduation among Tertiary Level Students through a 'Work Based Learning' concept. ICT/BPO companies are encouraged to recruit trainees from the ISD Programme database and offer them a work based training/placement. Trainees should undergo the training/ placement for at least 2 times for a period of 6 weeks each during a year of study. Participants receive an all-inclusive stipend during the placement. The scheme refunds 50% of the stipend paid to the ICT/BPO Company.
Some of the main e-government projects that are currently being implemented are as follows:
The e-Judiciary programme has been initiated by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to upgrade the country's existing court management system, which dates back to 1994. A new Electronic Filing System (EFS) will allow:
- Computerization of the daily activities of the judiciary, such as case registration, court scheduling and document servicing;
- Electronic submission and exchange of documents by attorneys with the judiciary - attorneys will thus be able to lodge cases electronically and follow up cases with the judiciary;
- Online access to case-related information.
The Crime Occurrence Tracking System (COTS) is being implemented in phases. COTS Phase 1 will be used for close monitoring of crime occurrences. This will make crime statistics available in real time. The system will contribute towards an enhanced customer-centered service for peace, security and order in the entire country. COTS will cater for the end-to-end automation of all processes, from the electronic lodging of complaints at the police station to determination in a court of law, with the possibility of electronic tracking of intermediate phases. Data captured at police stations would be cross-checked and validated against other databases such as: passenger travel information, vehicle information database and citizen details.
The E-Payment project aims at facilitating transactions made at government counters and to encourage the adoption of government e-services.
An e-business plan (2009-2015) to harness ICT in public health services has been elaborated. The prime objective of the recommendations outlined in the plan is to improve the healthcare provided to all citizens through an appropriate ICT strategy that will enhance the work processes of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, its departments and health agencies.
The project aims at setting up a policy framework for Information Security Assurance and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection with the main objective of identifying and protecting the critical information infrastructures of Mauritius. The policy will be based on the UN Resolution 58/199: Creating a Global Culture of Cybersecurity and Protection of Critical Information Infrastructures and focuses on leadership, risk mitigation and awareness and defines a plan of immediate actions to strengthen the security and resilience of CIIs. The main critical sectors identified for Mauritius are namely Energy, Financial Services (incl. Banking), Government Services, Health, ICT & Broadcasting, Manufacturing, Sugar, Transport & Logistics, Tourism, Customs and Water Supply. The main recommendations for the policy fall under 3 main pillars:-
i. Leadership and Governance : Establish clear leadership and governance in information security risk management at national level and at level of organizations;
ii. Risk Mitigation: Establish mandatory information security risk management policy for critical sector operators to protect against cyber security threats.
iii. Awareness and Prevention: Promote the adoption of information security best practices.
Recognising the importance of Green IT initiatives worldwide, the Government through the National Computer Board has initiated the development of a National Green IT Policy, supported by a National Green IT Strategy and Action Plan. Green IT Awareness activities such as workshop for businesses, developing and disseminating guidelines on Green IT, essay and project competition at the level of secondary and tertiary institutions, training leading to industry certification, etc... are ongoing activities carried out by the National Computer Board.
AfriCERT (the Regional CERT for Africa), which is similar to APCERT for Asia Pacific, is a coalition of CERTs of African countries. It was setup in 2011 and officially incorporated in Accra, Ghana. Its main objective is to enhance the cyber security of African countries through effective collaboration and communication with all stakeholders concerned across Africa. Mauritian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-MU) is collaborating with the AfricaCERT. The latter shares malicious data (includes malware or bot, DNS Changer victims) for Mauritius with CERT-MU, which is collected from research honeypots using ATLAS sensors. CERT-MU liaises with local ISP's to take necessary actions.
The main objectives of organising a Regional ICT Exhibition and Conference Event are to showcase emerging technologies in the region; offer a platform for business exchanges and the establishment of partnerships; and promote regional ICT products, services and solution
NCB organised the Infotech ICT Regional Exhibition and Conference event on a yearly basis with the following objectives:
- Meet and participate in business exchanges with local and international players and stakeholders of the ICT sector
- Create awareness on achievements and developments in the ICT sector in the region
- Provide information on ICT products, services and technologies in the region
- Explore areas of collaboration and tie ups through networking activities
The 19th edition of Infotech was held in September 2012. Besides technology exhibitions, it also comprised the Career Counselling and Job Fair. This year (2012) the National Computer Board is organising the first edition of Infotech Rodrigues. Rodrigues is a small island off the coast of Mauritius. Infotech Rodrigues, scheduled for October 2012, which will share the same objectives of Infotech held in Mauritius but held on a smaller scale, will witness the participation of 9 exhibitors.
The National Computer Board (NCB) and the Mauritius IT Industry Association (MITIA) jointly organised the 2nd annual edition of ProIT in May 2012, the first edition was organised in April 2011. ProIT is a professional B2B Exhibition and Conference event that enables operators of the ICT industry to showcase their expertise, products and solutions. The event targets mainly professionals of the ICT sector, SMEs, corporates and the business community. It is proposed to include more regional players from other countries to make the event an ICT Regional Exhibition and Conference.
A 2nd edition of the ICT-BPO International Conference was held in September 2012 to promote Mauritius as a preferred ICT-BPO hub and bringing the Global ICT Community and Outsourcing Professionals, Business Professionals together for Knowledge Sharing, and Networking experience. The ICT-BPO International Conference witnessed the presence of high-calibre panellists and delegates from ITU, ATU, UNECA, AT Kearney, and Infosys among others.
The setting up of a regional Internet Exchange Point is to keep local contents within the region. Its purpose is to efficiently route all intra-Regional Internet traffic among the operators without having to pass through the United States or Europe. This will allow the regional data carriers to significantly optimize upstream capacity costs, enhance their existing bandwidth capacities and reduce the size of the routing tables worldwide
The setting up of a Regional Centre of Excellence is to foster ICT development in the region with objective to:
- Providing training to ICT professionals of countries in the African region
- Sharing of policy experience and know-how of developed countries
- Enhancing R&D in ICT
It is proposed to set up the Mauritian ICT Academy which will aim at equipping the youth of Mauritius with knowledge, skills and being benchmarked globally through International Certifications so that to ensure the sustained development of the ICT sector. L'Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is showing interest in funding the project.
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