She mas­tered­her cell phone and more

Kapi-Mana News - - WHAT’S ON -

A Porirua woman who once feared her mo­bile phone has be­come the first stu­dent to grad­u­ate with a mas­ter of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy from Whi­tireia Polytech.

At 64 and of Samoan de­scent, Leutele Grey knows she stands out against the stereo­typ­i­cal ICT stu­dent im­age, but says any­body can be­come pro­fi­cient in the area.

‘‘I used to work at the Cit­i­zens Ad­vice Bureau and saw so many peo­ple, es­pe­cially women, come in with no un­der­stand­ing of how to pay their bills, how to fill out im­mi­gra­tion forms, how to know whether they’d been scammed,’’ she said.

‘‘Every­thing is on­line and tech­ni­cally based these days – [if you don’t un­der­stand how ICT works] you can be left be­hind.’’

She said it was her young sons, and the re­al­i­sa­tion that their school­ing was su­per­sed­ing her own that pushed her.

‘‘When my sons started col­lege I wasn’t able to help them with their home­work. I was scared to use my cell phone, I didn’t speak very good English. They were learn­ing new things and us­ing new tech­nol­ogy.’’

‘‘I don’t want to lie down and be­come a veg­etable in my old age. I be­came an in­de­pen­dent re­searcher and em­pir­i­cal stu­dent so I can be com­pe­tent and solv­ing prob­lems when I reach my re­tire­ment.’’

Solv­ing prob­lems on an in­ter­na­tional scale is Leutele’s forte. From de­vel­op­ing the con­cept for a Samoan/English trans­la­tion app to her the­sis on the need for un­der­de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing na­tions to adopt a com­pre­hen­sive e-gov­ern­ment ap­proach, Leutele is proof of the broad ap­pli­ca­tion of ICT knowl­edge.

She said her the­sis was born from recog­nis­ing the lack of ICT knowl­edge and adop­tion in gov­ern­ment projects in her home coun­try, West­ern Samoa.

‘‘[West­ern Samoa] needs ex­pe­ri­enced and tech­ni­cal peo­ple who can align the phys­i­cal – such as busi­ness de­vel­op­ment – with in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘The Gov­ern­ment can­not de­velop busi­ness or im­ple­ment im­por­tant so­cial and eco­nomic projects with­out the un­der­stand­ing of their peo­ple, and that’s where ICT comes into play. It pulls down bar­ri­ers and [en­ables] com­mu­ni­ca­tion.’’

Leutele said the growth of ICT ed­u­ca­tion in Welling­ton would bring op­por­tu­ni­ties.

‘‘This is the age of science and in­no­va­tion, and ICT is where the jobs are.’’

Leutele Grey has grad­u­ated with a Mas­ter’s in IT.

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