IBM to help children in Jordan

IBM and Jordan's Ministry of Education are working together to provide over 150 schools in disadvantaged areas across the country with specially designed learning systems for young children.

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By  Peter Branton Published  November 24, 2003

IBM and Jordan's Ministry of Education are working together to provide over 150 schools in disadvantaged areas across the country with specially designed learning systems for young children.

"We are very excited about this programme. Technology is a vital component of our strategy to develop and strengthen our educational sector at every level and we believe that this move will significantly enhance the scope and quality of early years learning in Jordan," said Jordanian Minister of Education, Dr. Khaled Toukan. "Our strategy is to build e-learning into Jordan's national education infrastructure as a core element, and this initiative is totally in line with our goals."

The agreement, formally signed by the Jordanian Minister of Education, Dr. Khaled Toukan and general manager, IBM Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan, Dr.Samer Shaar, is part of IBM's global KidSmart programme, which aims to enhance learning in the early years environment for children in disadvantaged areas.

IBM is donating 150 KidSmart Early Learning Centres, which come loaded with software from its e-learning software partner River Deep, for deployment in schools located in disadvantaged areas throughout Jordan and commits teaching staff, training and resources to the programme, supported by the Ministry of Education. Two centers are to be deployed immediately as training systems and the remaining centers will be deployed in a rollout programme throughout 2004.

"We see the rollout of the KidSmart programme in Jordan as a clear indicator of IBM's deepening involvement in the development of key technology capabilities in the country and of our commitment to Jordan as an important emerging regional technology centre," said Dr. Samer Shaar, general manager, IBM Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan. "We are very proud indeed to be working with the Ministry of Education to make a very real contribution to enhancing early years learning for communities where we believe technology can bring very real benefits but where resources remain a key issue."

The systems also support any Windows-based software and so are compatible with software such as that used in Jordan's national e-learning programme. The company will also support the national rollout programme, provide teacher training resources and support the participation of Jordanian educators in the global KidSmart community. The Ministry of Education will support the programme with project management, teacher training and selection of appropriate teaching and management resources as well as working with IBM selecting schools to participate in the programme.

"We see the KidSmart programme as an important step towards developing Jordan's e-learning programme and as an important commitment to helping children in disadvantaged communities reap the benefits of computer-based learning," said Dr. Toukan.

The KidSmart programme has so far seen over 20,000 Young Explorer early learning centers worldwide, donated by IBM to schools in disadvantaged areas,with each deployment supported by in-country partner organisations. The Jordanian programme is the first such deployment by IBM in the Arab World and follows major initiatives from the company in building and developing educational programmes at the secondary and university levels in the region.

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