Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training, Fazal Karim launched the first national reasearch network in the region yesterday at a signing ceremony held at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain. Karim signed a memorandum of understanding between his ministry and the University of the West Indies (UWI), University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) and the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts (Costaatt). Signing with Karim were Costaatt acting president Dr. Gillian Paul, UWI campus principal Prof. Clement Sankat and UTT Prof. Ulrich Rauch. The memorandum establishes guidelines for the T&T Research and Education Network (TTRENT) which was designed in conjuction with Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) - an inter-governmental Caricom agency.
National research and education networks, known as NRENs, are specialised internet service providers which support the needs of educational institutions. According to Karim, a national NREN is long overdue. He noted that there are more than 100 NRENS worldwide with 40 such networks in Europe alone. Karim said the network sets the environment for creativity and a "national platform for service and development." TTRENT will be operational by the coming school term. Remarks were also given by Ravi Ratiram of the TSTT board of directors and Dr. Fazal Ali, UTT provost. The ceremony included a performance by the group Arts in Action.