GENEVA, Switzerland, October 16, 2003 - As a result of talks at ITU Telecom World 2003, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Cisco Systems today announced that they are extending their collaboration to provide Internet education and greater access to information technology throughout the developing world. The extended collaboration includes establishing 20 new Internet Training Centers in Ministries of Communications, or their equivalent, all running the Cisco Networking Academy Program.
The Centers, expected to be set up in developing countries and economies in transition, are part of the Internet Training Centers Initiative (ITCI), created by ITU in 2001 with the aim of providing students and professionals in non-industrialised countries access to affordable and relevant technology training.
Cisco is a pioneer partner of the ITCI, establishing in all Centers the Cisco Networking Academy Program, a comprehensive e-learning program which provides students with the Internet technology skills to design , build and maintain networks.
"Governments in developing countries recognize the importance of having skilled professionals to help them bridge the digital divide, and always welcome the opportunity to have adequate IT Training facilities to train their own staff responsible for Telecommunications policy, "said Hamadoun Touri, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT). "One of our goals for the ITCI is to strengthen Internet skills on a large scale. We believe extending the initiative to include government officials can only benefit the economy of each country."
Since its inception, the ITCI has established 55 Centers at educational institutions. More than 2,500 students have enrolled, 30% of them being women. So far, 181 students have graduated from the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course and there has been an overall employment rate of 83%.
ITU and Cisco are also now extending the curriculum in twenty of the best-performing Centres to enhance the IT competencies of students. The curricula sponsored by HP, Panduit and Sun will include, respectively, IT Essentials 1: PC Hardware and Software and IT Essentials 2: Network Operating Systems; Fundamentals of Voice and Data Cabling systems; Fundamentals of UNIX and Fundamentals of Java Programming. Targeted Centres will implement one of these courses, in addition to the CCNA course.
"The Cisco Networking Academy Program is succeeding everyday in teaching students around the world the skills they need to join the information age and to help their communities," said Tae Yoo, Vice President of Corporate Philanthropy at Cisco Systems. "We are proud to be extending our association with ITU to give developing countries access to the same training opportunities available in a thriving urban community."
One of the key goals of the ITCI is to encourage greater female participation in learning IT skills. A year ago, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, started teaching the Cisco Networking Academy Program to students in the Department of Women and Gender Studies through the partnership between ITU and Cisco.
Student Anita Sanyu Mago-Sempa, who works for a media services company in Uganda, said: "My work involves video shooting, editing, and consultancy. The company is expanding into computer networking, an upcoming area where there is still a gap in such services offered. As a starting point, I will be able to network my company's computers.
"The skills I have acquired also enable me to give advice to my clients on computer specifications. I will also introduce and set up LANs for organizations, companies, and schools.
"My study of the CCNA course has been a very enriching experience that has opened up new avenues for me in the IT world. I am grateful that Cisco and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conceived the idea of bringing this opportunity to the Least Developed Countries, Uganda being one of them."
About the ITU
ITU is a world-wide organization which brings governments and industry together to coordinate the establishment and operation of global telecommunication networks and services; it is responsible for standardization, coordination and development of international telecommunications including radio communications, as well as the harmonization of national policies.
To fulfill its mission, ITU adopts international regulations and treaties governing all terrestrial and space uses of the frequency spectrum as well as the use of all satellite orbits which serve as a framework for national legislations; it develops standards to foster the interconnection of telecommunication systems on a worldwide scale regardless of the type of technology used; it also fosters the development of telecommunications in developing countries.
ITU also organizes worldwide and regional exhibitions and forums bringing together the most influential representatives of government and the telecommunications industry to exchange ideas, knowledge and technology for the benefit of the global community, and in particular the developing world.
About the Cisco Networking Academy Program
The Cisco Networking Academy Program is a non-profit partnership between Cisco Systems, education, business, government and community organizations around the world aimed at nurturing networking and IT professionals. The education program employs an e-learning model, using a combination of Web-based and instructor-led training along with a hands-on lab environment to teach students how to design, build and maintain computer networks. First launched in 1997 in the US, there are now more than 10,500 Networking Academies operating in150 countries around the world and over 197,000 graduates.