Intel committed to Kingdom

Barrett unveils raft of initiatives in Saudi Arabia

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By  Published  December 23, 2006

As part of its ongoing commitment to Saudi Arabia, Intel has annou-nced a number of inititatives with the aim of increasing efforts to extend the reach of technology and benefit the country’s students. “Education is the foundation for leadership in today’s knowledge-based global economy,” said Intel chairman Craig Barrett, who also chairs the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Development. Intel and the Ministry of Education (MoE) announced a plan to train more than 50,000 of the Kingdom’s teachers on the application of technology, in order to improve classroom learning. Around 1.5 million students are expected to benefit from the Intel Teach Essentials programme over the next three years. The MoE also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Intel, for the firm to act as a technical consultant to the ministry. “The Intel Teach programme is centred on the belief that computers aren’t magic, but teachers are,” Barrett said. “With trained teachers, local educational content and access to technology, the Kingdom’s youth will have an opportunity to realise the potential of their ideas.” Intel and Obeikan, a Saudi education development company, also launched Intel’s Skoool Learning and Teaching Technology. This interactive learning website will provide maths and science lessons for local needs. Intel and King Abdul Aziz and his Companions Foundation for the Gifted (KACFG) also annou- nced the start of the inaugural year for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) Saudi Arabia programme. The programme will give successful young Saudi inventors in the local competition a chance to enter the international version of the event. More than a thousand students from more than 50 countries already participate in the annual Intel ISEF. Since Barrett’s visit to the Kingdom last year, Intel has initiated several programmes to cultivate technology skill development and knowledge transfer for the region. The chip giant is working with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals on engineering internships and job plac- ement programmes, as well as fostering petrochemical resea- rch and development. “Technology can expand what is possible to create opportunities for people across the Kingdom,” Barrett said at the Economic Cities conference hosted by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA). “Public-private partnerships are vital for expanding the reach of technology to benefit the Saudi people,” he added. As an example, Barrett cited local education software company Semanoor’s launch of the Saudi e-curriculum, which the MoE will deploy in public and private schools across Saudi. Semanoor loaded an Intel-based PC with teaching tools and the government-approved curriculum to help teachers tailor their own e-lessons. Barrett also announced that Intel and the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) had signed an MoU to conduct joint research and software optimisation. Intel will help KACST establish a facility to foster the creation of local technology companies. During his visit to the nation’s capital, Barrett met with government and industry leaders to discuss progress made since Intel launched its Digital Transformation Initiative for the Middle East and Turkey a year ago. The initiative focuses on creating a sustainable environment that promotes technology skills development, knowledge transfer and jobs creation.

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