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#4305: Cotton & Computers: Beaujour comments

From: Jean Beaujour <jbb123@hotmail.com>


I dont think computer literacy will help Haiti or any other economic 
activities until the political and judicial system have been stabilized. A 
country without a solid government structure will never succeed no matter 
how much wealth the country has. It is fundamental that Haiti resolved it 
political problems first before we even think about how to create economic 

JB Beaujour

>From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
>To: Haiti mailing list <haiti@lists.webster.edu>
>Subject: #4278:  Re: #4249: Cotton & Computers (fwd)
>Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2000 07:36:36 -0700 (PDT)
>From: sean harvey <seanharvey@juno.com>
>I think computer literacy is a terrific idea for Haiti, and not such a
>pipe dream. After working as a freelance writer in various fields for a
>number of years, I'm currently a consultant at a software company and
>have found that the programmers there are divided into those that went to
>top schools and the grunts who figured it out for themselves. Often the
>latter category is far superior. Of those that sort of cobbled it
>together themselves and then refined their skills in a public university
>(like the CUNY system), the programmers displayed the same sort of
>personalities that you are describing -- smart, self-motivated, curious
>and improvisatory, and willing to think hard about something that could
>materially improve their lives. In six months I've already picked up one
>and a half computer languages myself so that I can understand clearly the
>code that I'm documenting. There's no reason anyone else couldn't do the
>same thing.
>The things that you would need to pursue such a course include:
>- literacy (for the books that will teach you the programming skills)
>- books on the most important computer languages, notably Java, C/C++,
>   Basic/ActiveX and Web development skills like HTML and Javascript (in
>the language in
>   which the students are literate)
>- a slowly built culture of the computer literate to pass on skills and
>provide jobs and role
>   models
>You would also have to think about how the first generation of
>programmers would make a living. Ostensibly, through start-ups, which is
>an organic process that is difficult to plan.
>The other problem that Haiti would face in any serious computer literacy
>effort is what Eastern Europe and the Indian subcontinent have been
>learning about for years  -- the American brain drain. The US basically
>soaks up anybody with strong computer skills, which would mean that most
>of Haiti's top programmers would probably be headed north in droves with
>the promise of immediate top dollar lasting into the foreseeable future.
>Nevertheless, this could provide the initial motivation for a culture of
>computer literacy. Get the ball rolling and it could have a huge economic

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