A plan to establish an information technology faculty at Jordanian Al Al-Bayt University will be presented to the university's board of trustees on Tuesday for approval, a university official said on Sunday.
Al al Bayt University President Mohammad Adnan Bakhit told the Jordan Times that the faculty would offer practical knowledge and it would graduate IT professionals with hands-on experience. He added that the exact number of students and the overall cost of the new faculty are not certain yet.
Bakhit said the university is currently working on the infrastructure for the faculty including buildings and computers. “But our greatest challenge will be supplying the faculty with human power. In that regard, we will refer to recruitment and scholarships,” he said.
Since he took over in February 1999, King Abdullah has launched an energetic drive to make the IT industry the main engine of economic growth. “King Abdullah has given special importance to this sector and there is a great need to meet the [demands] of the society, the private sector, the schools as well as the labor market in Arab countries,” Bakhit said.
A $30 million project to enhance IT at Jordan's state-run universities and community colleges is in the works. The project is part of the higher education development project being currently 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 the state-of-the-art technology. 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. The project will be finished in late 2004.
A national strategy for the sector's development, worked out by the private sector in cooperation with the government, aims to create 30,000 IT-related jobs and achieve $150 million in foreign direct investments in the software development and service industry by 2004.
The King also instructed the government to introduce English and computer skills classes in all public schools since the early grades — a measure that become effective as of the current academic year. — ( Jordan Times )
By Oula Al Farawati
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )