A $30 million project to enhance information technology studies at Jordan's state-run universities and community colleges is in the works. The project is part of the higher education development project currently being carried out by the ministry of planning.
The ultimate aim of the project is to supply students pursuing higher education with skills and know-how in state-of-the-art technology, according to Tayseer Nahar, vice president of the National Center for the Development of Human Resources, which conducted the technical studies of the scheme.
“Our ultimate goal is to empower our students so that they become self-educated and add IT skills to their base of knowledge,” he told the Jordan Times in a recent interview. The overall cost of the higher education development project is $74 million, $35 million of which is supplied by a loan from the World Bank, said Nahar.
The IT component of the project, which cost $30 million, has five sub-projects. The first is the financing and installation of a standard-based information technology infrastructure including hardware, software and applications.
It will provide inter- and intra-university connectivity and global connectivity via the Internet to provide students and faculty with access to national and global research data and information and the ability to correspond electronically with educators on the national and international levels, according to Nahar.
The second sub-project supports the design and use of modern management information systems (MIS) in decision-making by the Higher Education Council, which supervises higher education in Jordan.
The scheme will finance the computer equipment and training of the council's secretariat and university staff.
According to Nahar, the third project will finance the development of an inter-university library system with the hope of increasing the overall efficiency of libraries in the public education system and facilitate access and exchange of information between public universities.
The scheme's fourth component will also support training for individuals who will be assigned as faculty developers in each institution.
Finally, upon establishing the IT network, the project will finance student and faculty computers and network, professional and end-user training, educational technologies and human resources necessary to operate the new investment in IT.
The project will end in late 2004. “The world is changing rapidly and information resources are developing fast. We want to empower our students with the skills to access and relate to new [knowledge],” said Nahar. — ( Jordan Times )
By Oula Al Farawati
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )