Jordanian schools promised speedy Net access

King Abdullah's call to promote IT education in Jordan is paying off. Jordan Telecom has committed to prioritising delivery of high speed Internet to schools.

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By  Rob Corder Published  February 8, 2001

Jordan Telecom’s rollout of a high speed Internet infrastructure will benefit education establishments first, according to the company’s chairman, Dr. Shabib Ammari. The network is being built now and will have the potential to deliver connection speeds of 512 Kbit/s and 1 Mbit/s.

“We are very aware that, as the new network builds out for national coverage, we need to focus on high speed access for education as a priority. The government is moving on a number of educational technology initiatives, and we are committed to supporting that process,” said Amarri in his keynote address at the Convergence 2001 conference in Jordan this week.

Enabling Internet access for the education sector was identified as a key goal during the Dead Sea Forum on technology, held in March 2000. A year later, marking progress on the initiatives outlined at the Forum, the Convergence 2001 conference starts a series of moves designed to highlight and maximise the application of technology by Jordanian enterprises, as well as by government and educational institutions in the country.

Jordan’s Ministry of Education has finalised a national syllabus for secondary IT education, and has set IT courses as a compulsory subject for the national ‘Tawjihi’ passing-out examination.

With an ongoing initiative to train teachers in IT skills and to equip schools with personal computers and Internet access, the Ministry’s work at the secondary level is already resulting in increased focus on information technology education within the country’s universities, where demand for technology-based courses has risen over the past year to make IT the third most popular course decision, from 10th a year ago.

“We are talking to the educational sector right now, working out how we can best ensure early and effective implementation of 512 Kbit and 1 Mbit Speed Line services to schools and universities to support their requirements,” said Jordan Telecom Chief Technology Officer Jean-Louis Vareille. “Their feedback is being used to shape how we prioritise service provision as we move forwards with the introduction of services across the country over the next two months.”

Jordan’s new high-speed data network is based on ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexor) backbone infrastructure supplied by Alcatel and routers, access servers and IP (Internet Protocol) infrastructure supplied by Cisco Systems.

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