|int@j partner’s with EFE to create technical post-secondary school in Jordan
|The Information Technology Association – Jordan (int@j) in cooperation with the Education for Employment Foundation (EFE) held a brainstorming session on Wednesday January 14 2004, at the Intercontinental Hotel Jordan.
The EFE had approached int@j to assist the foundation in creating a technical post-secondary school in Jordan, which would be a new entity created as a joint venture between EFE and int@j member companies interested in joining the venture.
The school will provide a curriculum that is demand driven, and will be created in direct consultation with the private sector. As such, training modules would be specifically designed to meet the human resources needs of int@j members - the employers of ICT workers and skills in Jordan.
The purpose of the meeting was to review in detail the EFE's proposal in launching the post-secondary school in Jordan and to review the feedback int@j had received from member companies in terms of the most critical needed skills and that would be provided by the new organization. The brainstorming session was kicked off by Mr. Marwan Juma, who introduced the EFE representatives attending the session, Mr. Ronald Bruder, Founder, Board Member and Interim Chief Executive Officer, Awais Sufi, Managing Director and Director of the Washington, D.C. Office, and Mr. Amir Moghadam, EFE Senior Educational Advisor.
After welcoming the EFE team and the attendees, Mr. Juma went on to stress the importance of the session and the significance of this project for Jordan. Mr. Juma stated that the strongest element in Jordan is its Human Resources, and that Jordan has launched many initiatives to provide ICT training and education to all Jordanians such as the REACH Initiative, which proposes to enhance the skills and knowledge of ICT professionals to meet the requirements of the marketplace, as well as the Jordan Education Initiative which came about at the World Economic Forum - Extraordinary Meeting in the Dead Sea. “The proposal presented to us by the EFE falls in line with the Human Resources Development Strategic thrust in our core national ICT initiative – REACH, which aims to substantially strengthen educational and training programs in Jordan, and build on the workforce’s talent, as well as take advantage of the high level of interest in ICT related careers” said Mr. Juma.
Following his introductory remarks, Mr. Marwan Juma introduced the Managing Director of the EFE, Mr. Awais Sufi, who stated that the mission of the Foundation is to counter the problem of massive and growing unemployment in most Islamic countries through education. The solution is to initially create technical schools linking graduates with jobs and as the Foundation grows, to establish primary and secondary schools where needed.
Mr. Sufi then went to say that US $10 million has already been contributed by Mr. Ronald Bruder, and it will be committed to fund research, central management, fund-raising efforts & administrative costs, and funding from other sources will be obtained for covering school operation costs
According to Mr. Sufi, Jordan’s ICT industry is a hub for development, as there is strong commitment and support from His Majesty King Abdullah II. int@j and its members has also surged a lot of effort into promoting the sector, and Mr. Sufi commended the association for its drive. Mr. Sufi went on to list the sets of indicators that place Jordan as a well suited environment for such a project. Such indicators are Jordan’s young and well educated population; the significant focus on connectivity through the ‘Connecting Jordanians Initiative’ and the substantial broadband (ADSL) penetration; and the e-Learning initiatives such as the Jordan Education Initiative and the Education Reform for a Knowledge Economy (ERfKE).
Mr. Amir Moghadam then presented the attendees with the needs of the Jordan ICT Sector, stating that the needs will arise from the local people themselves, and that the Foundation is here to learn from the Jordanian ICT sector what is mostly needed, and which direction should be taken. The Foundation will be using existing documentations as presented by int@j, the Ministry of ICT, and other local organizations, however, it will still need to do a comprehensive analysis to reall determine what the needs are.
Mr. Moghadam the revealed the results of a survey conducted by int@j in November, 2003. The survey, which was based on int@j Member companies, indicated that the most needed skills needed in the Jordanian ICT market are: Project Management; Leadership Training; Negotiation; Marketing; and Customer Service.
Mr. Ronald Bruder concluded the session by summing up the presentation stating that a need for skilled, competitive workforce exists across the Developing World. To ensure availability of qualified workers, the industry’s role is central in career education reform. “We are going to act as a catalyst for development” said Mr. Bruder about the Foundation’s main target. Mr. Bruder also mentioned that the contribution of local knowledge and commitment is essential to helping this project and Jordan move forward economically.
The session was followed by a brief Q&A session, where members of the ICT community, and other local sectors engaged in a discussion with the three EFE representatives. “What next?” was the question posed at the end of the discussion, whereby Mr. Ron Bruder answered by saying that the next step for the project is getting feedback, from local people, on the skills and contents that they, as employers, need from their employees, and once the feedback is provided, a focus group will be formed to start setting up the project.
The school will offer certifications in CISCO, Microsoft, Oracle, or other technologies, as well as teach the project management and soft skills required by the most competitive industries around the world, and whatever else is needed by the ICT industry.
The brainstorming session gave the opportunity for EFE representatives to meet int@j’s member companies, stakeholders and Donor agencies to present their proposal and establish partnerships with interested companies.