News Release

Victoria Increases IT Skills Education for Senior Secondary School Students

State Government introduces Cisco Systems Networking Academy Program as an elective subject into the senior student (VCE) curriculum
Jan 25, 2001

MELBOURNE, Australia, January 25, 2001 - Victorian senior secondary school students will now have access to high quality computer networking training following a decision by the Victorian Government to introduce industry recognized course material from Cisco Systems into its senior secondary school curriculum.

From 2001, VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) students will be able to complete classes in the basics of designing, building and maintaining sophisticated computer networks. The curriculum material will be the complete Cisco Networking Academies Program which is already used by more than 5,500 Australian students in 105 facilities nationwide and by 156,000 students in 106 countries worldwide.

"This pioneering move represents Victoria's commitment to providing top quality education in information technology and provides an example of how industry and Government can work together to equip students for life in the 21st Century," said The Honorable Mary Delahunty, Victorian Minister for Education.

The Cisco course material will become available to all senior secondary schools which offer the VCE and who have a relevant technology infrastructure. There are already 38 educational facilities in Victoria operating as Cisco Networking Academies, of which 23 are Senior Secondary schools or TAFE Institutes. This group is expected to be the first to introduce the training course as an elective.

The new VCE course will be introduced as a 1/4-unit subject. The CCNA will include a unit 3-4 (year 12) sequence. As with other VCE VET studies, this will provide access to the 5th and 6th study increment for calculation of the ENTER. Those students who successfully complete the course will also be qualified as Cisco Certified Network Associates (CCNAs), a key certificate for employment within the fast growing information technology (IT) industry.

The introduction of the new course follows a rigorous, 2-year review by the Board of Studies. It also comes after the approval of the Cisco course material by the Victorian Electrotechnology, Printing, Information Technology and Communications Industry Training Board.

Schools seeking to introduce the new course will need to purchase some computer networking equipment. This investment will be subsidised by Cisco which, in addition to providing all course materials, lesson plans and teacher training for free, will supply equipment to schools at a 60 percent discount to normal list price.

"One of the major beneficiaries of this initiative will be schools in regional and disadvantaged areas throughout Victoria," said Mr Peter Scope, Manager, Cisco Education Programs Australia & New Zealand "All schools will have access to course material that provides advanced vocational training in the fastest growth area of the IT Industry. This type of training is only generally available in the larger cities."

The commercial value of this training provided to students is $A8,000 to $A15,000, were they to complete the coursework at a commercial training centre. Students will be prepared to sit for the internationally recognized, industry based Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) accreditation.

Mr Kip Cole, Director of Marketing & Strategic Alliances, Cisco Systems Australia & New Zealand, said there was clearly a role for industry-standardized courses to play in educating people for jobs in the New Economy.

"The success throughout the world of the Cisco Networking Academy Program shows that we are transitioning students through the industrial economy and into the Internet Economy," Mr Cole said. "This is incredibly important for the work prospects of the students and the future prosperity of the country.

"There is already a shortage of IT professionals. If we can't maintain the supply of skilled people to the IT sector, Australia will struggle to keep pace in the new economy," Mr Cole added.

Cisco Systems Networking Academies Program

There are approximately 156,000 students enrolled at over 6,000 Cisco Networking Academies in 106 countries. Cisco has donated US$20 million to the program which is being implemented in cooperation with public and private educational institutions, business groups and community organisations.

In Australia, the Networking Academies program has been running successfully for more than two years with over 600 graduates. Participants range from high school and university students to professionals upgrading their skills or seeking to change career direction. All complete 280 hours of online and classroom-based instruction. The curriculum is vendor-neutral and focused on the basics of operating computer networks.

The Academies program was started after Cisco recognised that many senior secondary schools, colleges and other educational facilities lacked the advanced technology and support materials required to teach such topics. The courses are designed to equip students to gain quality jobs in the 21st century arena of high technology and communications.

For more information on the Cisco Networking Academies program please see and search for 'Networking Academies'.

For a list of Australian facilities that are currently operating as Cisco Networking Academies, go to the Networking Academies Homesite.

About Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Cisco news and information are available at

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