TATT to Provide Bursaries

 TATT bytes
September 2012


Bill Gates of Microsoft, the late Steve Jobs of Apple and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are for the most part typical
of the leaders in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) – they are men.

Fewer women than men choose professions in ICTs. This though women have rapidly become a dynamic force in the workplace, taking an increasing share of high paying jobs and assuming a larger share of leadership positions in organisations in a variety of sectors.

The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has
embarked upon an initiative to ensure that the ICT sector benefits from the energy and drive of women and to encourage them to find fulfilling careers in the sector.

TATT is providing eight bursaries for female students pursuing ICT-related undergraduate programmes at the College of Science Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTATT), The University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT).

The objective of the bursary initiative is to provide tangible support for top female students from Trinidad and Tobagopursuing ICT related studies with a view to expanding and encouraging the development of future female professionals within the country’s ICT sector.


Cris Seecheran and Andrea Kennah of UTT
Mr. Cris Seecheran, TATT' CEO looks on as Dr. Andrea Kennah of UTT signs the contract

The initiative was announced on May 17th, 2012 at the launch of TATT’s World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) celebration. The theme of WTISD 2012 is “Women and Girls in ICT.”

Each bursary will be provided for a period of two years based on the academic performance of students who must be nationals of Trinidad and Tobago. The bursaries are valued at TT$7,500 per student per year. TATT will spend TT$120,000 on this initiative.

Chief Executive Officer of TATT, Cris Seecheran, told the audience at the WTISD launch that, “TATT looks forward to
investing in the educational development of the students who will benefit from these bursaries and the resulting benefits to the local ICT sector.”

He added: “I want to take this opportunity on the occasion of WTISD 2012, to suggest to parents, teachers and
other mentors, to encourage girls, who are so inclined, to begin to seriously think about pursuing careers in ICTs. The arena is vast and so are the opportunities.”

Speaking at the launch, Minister of Public Administration Carolyn Seepersad- Bachan said she hoped the students “take full advantage of their programmes of study, and that soon we will see them in the highest levels of decision making in the ICT sector. There they will be able to develop and apply their creativity and innovativeness to develop this fast-growing sector and our entire nation.”

TATT’s WTISD Achievements

WTISD is held annually by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nation’s body with responsibility for ICT. In recognition of the “Women and Girls in ICTs” theme, the ITU has called on its members to provide “avenues of advancement to professional women at the highest echelons of decision making and by encouraging young women to seek new opportunities within the sector.”

TATT has taken part in WTISD activities every year since becoming operational. In 2008 the theme was “Connecting Persons with Disabilities: ICT Opportunities for All” and that year TATT held a special workshop for people with disabilities exposing them to the world of assistive technologies.

Assistive technologies are ICTs specially designed for use by persons with disabilities.

Mr. Selby Wilson adresses the audience
Mr. Selby Wilson, Chairman of TATT's Board of Directors, speaks at the launch of the initiative. Seated (from left) at the head table are Mr. David Moses of UWI and Ms. June Alexis Matthews of COSTAATT

In 2009, TATT produced a 45 minute video for youth titled “Cyber Danger” for the theme “Protecting Children in Cyberspace.” This video, which identified dangers in cyberspace and provided solutions to young people and parents/ guardians to deal with these dangers, was distributed to every secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago.

Additionally a number of radio and television advertisements as well as a brochure were produced. With these tools
TATT has since then been involved in cybersecurity seminars at schools, youth clubs and other similar  organisations, upon request.

TATT’s 2010 WTISD project was an art competition for the theme “Better City, Better Life with ICTs.” This competition was open to persons between ages of five and twenty one and senior  itizens sixtyfive years and over.

Last year, 2011, the Authority invited non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to submit proposals for projects
in rural communities which needed to be supported by ICTs. Upon receipt of proposals and an intensive evaluation process, nine NGOs were selected to be provided with up to $30,000 worth of ICT equipment and/or services.