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French Version

School technology innovation center opened

Microsoft Corp, Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation and Cisco Systems officially launched the Jordan School Technology Innovation Center in Amman last Tuesday. The opening was held at Queen Rania Center and attended by Minister of Education Khaled Touqan, Minister of Information and Communications Technology Nadia Al Saeed, Microsoft Senior Vice President and CEO of Europe, Middle East and Africa Jean-Philippe Courtois, HP Education Manager Clifford Harris, Intel Middle East Education Manager Bassem Nasir, and Cisco Systems Director of Operations for North Africa and Levant, Yasser Elkady.

The center is the first of its kind across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, where technology has a powerful role to play in education. It is a long-term partnership between Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems & the government. It aims at helping educators and educational policy-makers realize the full potential of the effective use of ICT in teaching and learning. “Through this collaboration with the four international IT companies, we were able to achieve wider progress on our vision of building a knowledge economy,” said Touqan. “The center will provide lifelong learning opportunities for Jordanian citizens and offer them with services and tools to become contributing members of the ICT economy.”

The center is built as a fully interactive demonstration facility for educational institutes in the region to test new technologies before making decisions to acquire. It will serve as a venue for best practices and innovation in using ICT in teaching, providing information, training, and equipment for teachers to enhance their use of ICT in their classrooms and curricula. Al Saeed, on her part, said, “The opening of this center is a result of the on-going and long-term collaboration between the International IT companies and the government to minimize the ICT skills gap that contributes to disparities in competitiveness and economic development and to assist in building a sustainable ICT model for education in Jordan.”

The center in Amman is the first of six centers that will be created throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa in cooperation with local authorities and as announced in May 2004, the six centers will be located in Jordan, Egypt, Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, South Africa, and Belgium. The prime aim of these centers would be to show how technology can create a richer, more inspiring and more effective learning environment.

Courtois, who is visiting the region, said, “Jordan is making great progress in its efforts to bridge the digital divide and open up economic opportunities for people and businesses throughout the Kingdom. We are delighted to witness the rapid progress being made through these public and private sector partnerships that are being catalyzed through the Jordan Education Initiative.” He continued, “This School Technology Innovation Center was introduced as part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning initiative, and it is a positive proof point of our commitment to working with Jordan as well as local communities to support digital inclusion and ICT-based entrepreneurship. And the best example on this would be the production of the worldwide ICT curriculum through a Jordanian company called Menhaj.”

Cisco has already been working closely with the government on the Jordan Education Initiative, an ambitious e-learning project that is poised to be an educational model in many other nations. And it demonstrated its commitment to expanding education to wider audiences through the Cisco Networking Academy Program where people obtain the training and skills they need to compete and succeed in the global information economy. “The center is another great example of collaboration between the public and private sectors, to show how technology can have a tremendous impact on education,” Elkady said.

The Star

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