HONG KONG, July 17, 2007 - To nurture young local information technology (IT) talent and promote the use of IT in education in Hong Kong, Cisco® today announced the launch of the Cisco Networking Academy® Ambassador Program in Hong Kong and Macao. Coinciding with the inauguration, Cisco is also participating in the innovative Wireless Mathematics Trail 2007. The competition provides the ambassadors with an opportunity to help realize their mission of promoting the use of IT in the community.
According to Cisco-commissioned research in 2006, the shortage of IT professionals in Hong Kong will increase from 2,000 in 2006 to 2,800 in 2009. Also, a survey by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in 2006 shows that 87 percent of respondents believe online learning helps students learn more effectively.
"The Cisco Networking Academy Ambassador Program is our latest initiative to help bridge the IT skills gap in Hong Kong and Macao. It will facilitate IT learning among the connected youth of Hong Kong and Macao, providing them with great opportunities to be collaborative and creative contributors to the development of the Internet," noted Charleston Sin, general manager of Cisco Hong Kong and Macao.
During the initial stage of the program, 24 ambassadors were selected from among Networking Academy students; a total of 50 ambassadors are expected to be recruited by July 2008. As ambassadors, they will have the opportunity to gain real-life experience in putting IT knowledge and theories into practice. Their task is to promote IT adoption in Hong Kong and Macao by participating in activities to educate the community about the benefits of networking technology. The multi-school Wireless Mathematics Trail 2007 sets a great example. The first of its kind in Hong Kong, the competition was held at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Shatin today.
Six Cisco Networking Academy ambassadors built and tested the network to facilitate this competition. They installed wireless access points, tested network signal integrity and handheld devices, monitored the network, and provided on-site technical support for the participating students.
The Wireless Mathematics Trail 2007 was organized by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR Government, with the participation of 52 Primary Four to Secondary Two students from 13 schools in Hong Kong. In teams of four, each led by a teacher, students were required to solve a range of mathematics questions with the use of handheld PCs via the wireless network within the museum.
With the deployment of online learning applications on the Cisco Wi-Fi network for this competition, Cisco has effectively built a platform that enables education 'outside the classroom'. This also serves as a reference for the development of a municipal wireless network. Applications on the wireless platform can help students collaborate and learn better, because teaching and learning activities are no longer confined to traditional classroom settings.
"We are delighted to work with Cisco on the Cisco Networking Academy Ambassador Program. Through this program, our students have been given precious hands-on experience of building and monitoring a complex wireless network for the competition today. This demonstrates our students' dedication in learning sophisticated IT skills and putting them into practice to promote the use of IT in education. In addition, students gain valuable opportunities to participate in various IT events and interact with IT professionals and users. This enhances their interpersonal skills and organizing abilities, which are helpful for their future career development," said Emily Chui, senior lecturer, Department of Computing of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Shatin).
"We are delighted to support the Wireless Mathematics Trail 2007 today, facilitating the deployment of wireless networking technologies in the education sector. The success of this competition not only demonstrates how IT enhances the quality of learning for our connected youth, but also underscores Cisco's dedication to nurturing next-generation IT talent in Hong Kong and Macao by promoting IT in education," concluded Sin.