Lunchboxes and laptops

As part of Sheikh Mohammed’s continuing IT education project www.sheikhmohammed.co.ae has unveiled plans to create an online marketplace for the education sector.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  July 2, 2001

As part of Sheikh Mohammed’s continuing IT education project www.sheikhmohammed.co.ae has unveiled plans to create an online marketplace for the education sector. The regions school children will be able to access educational material such as hardware, software and the basics – such as books – when the site goes live in September.

As well as kitting out the kids, the market place will cater for the technology needs of the Ministry of Education and the IT Academy, which will be able to take IT procurement online.

Whilst the marketplace will be run as a ‘not-for-profit’ business, technology partner Intershop believes that the education sector will be worth $50 million by 2003 as it hopes to attract around 50,000 users.

The underlying aim of the initiative is, however, to raise awareness for IT and e-commerce within the region.

“It is incumbent upon UAE national students today to capitalize on the benefits of the latest technology, especially as it relates to education. With the creation of the online education marketplace, students can not only invest in the latest technology and training tools to improve their skills, they can also experience firsthand the benefits of e-commerce,” says Jamal Khalfan Al Huwairib, director of www.sheikhmohammed.co.ae.

Just which IT products students will be saving up for is unclear as yet. Suppliers for the market place are still being courted with IBM and Microsoft topping the list. Those vendors that finally sign up with the site will be expected to heavily discount their products.

To ensure that only students are using the site, and benefiting from the vendor deals, user names and passwords will be offered to students and a cash on delivery payment process will be employed.

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