REPORT #160 Jan 2000

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

Well the results are in for the CIT first year ( 10 month ) graduates of the Software programming school in Jamaica, taught by 4 Indian programmers from India on contract and one American from Furman University in the USA. Organized and run by an Indian entrepreneur turned American citizen in Atlanta, USA.

Of the 56 first year students, 53 actually completed the course and 10 of these failed the exit exam, but not to the point they were unemployable. They are still employable, but did not meet the criteria agreed upon. 43 graduates received Master's Certifications and will be employed by Indusa, to tackle the code work on a backlog of $2 million in orders in software programming. The other ten received Certificates of Completion.

The 43 Masters graduates are software coding technicians who will earn inside Jamaica, wages between $7 and $10 USA per hour. Very good money for Jamaica. The equivalent pay in the USA is between $65 and $75 per hour.

The school ran at a deficit. The Jamaican government funded most of the costs. Students received a $4000 USA GRANT for a portion of the tuition of $6000 USA after signing contracts to stay in Jamaica. The remainder of the $2000 USA tuition was given as an interest free loan from the Jamaican government to each student, which has to be paid back. Some of these students will become the faculty for the next class of students which is about three times as big, starting January.

The major skills taught were C++, Java, Visual Basic, Database (SQL) and Web authoring. Many of the students had never used a computer before. Algebra is a useful skill to have when programming, as functions have to be used in algebraic ways sometimes.

If it can be done in Jamaica it can be done in Belize. Conversations are ongoing now, with interested parties in Miami-Dade County to see if it is possible to organize here for use in Belize, either at Belmopan or Corozal. Perhaps a GRANT will be sought to do an exploratory study by the Belize Development Trust.

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