Cisco sets up Iraq academies

Cisco is setting up ten Networking Academy centres in Iraq. Working in association with universities, colleges and government training centres, Cisco will donate lab kits, training and curriculum material as part of the effort to enhance IT and networking skills availability in Iraq.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  December 3, 2005

Cisco is setting up ten Networking Academy centres in Iraq. Working in association with universities, colleges and government training centres, Cisco will donate lab kits, training and curriculum material as part of the effort to enhance IT and networking skills available in Iraq. The plan includes four regional academies supported by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA). Three of the regional academies will be affiliated to public universities in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul with the fourth linked to the private university college of Al-Mansour in Baghdad. A further six local academies will be set up in other colleges, universities and government training centres close to the sites chosen for the regional academies. Long-term, each regional academy is expected to spawn ten local academies creating a network of more than 40 learning centres spread throughout Iraq. The plan to develop a network of local academies started in 2004 with preliminary discussions taking place between Beirut-based UN-ESCWA and Cisco’s Middle East organisation. The education initiative now has trainers in place and several student classes have already taken place. “Prior to initiating our academy programme, we had to ensure that basic services such as water and electricity were available in all four campuses,” said Yasser Elkady, general manager for Cisco in the Middle East, North Africa and Levant. “Most sites were found to lack power stability and landline internet access. Additionally we needed to find secure space to set up our training labs.” A total of 13 instructors were trained for a month at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut to staff the programme. All 13 secured CCNA certification before returning to Iraq to set up the labs. The IT and networking technology for the centres, which included laptop computers donated by IBM, was delivered through UN-ESCWA between April and October 2005. Each regional and local academy is expected to teach a minimum of 50 students per annum.

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