AMMAN, Jordan, May 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Special Communications Commission (SCC) in Jordan announced, under the patronage of the Jordanian Prime Minister Dr. Abdullah Ensour, the launching of a project that will connect most government schools, MoE directorates and military education schools affiliated with the armed forces to an integrated network provided by Umniah. This step is significant for the country's public educational sector, and aims to utilize technology in order to increase the efficiency of the educational process by adopting communication solutions and information technology. The event was attended by Dr. Al-Thnaibat, as well as Brigadier General Ali Al-Assaf, the Director General of SCC, Ihab Hinnawi CEO of Batelco Group and Ziad Shatara, Umniah's CEO (a subsidiary of Batelco Group).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Dr. Mohammad Al-Thnaibat said, during the event, that this noteworthy national project is an essential step on the road to upgrading educational methods in Jordan. He added that the implementation of the project is a direct result of the visions and directives of His Majesty King Abdullah II to develop education and reinforce the use of modern technology throughout the academic system, a strategy of education and development that has been implemented by the MoE over the past several years.
Dr. Al-Thnaibat went on to explain that Umniah will harness its technology and infrastructure to connect approximately 3000 schools and sites to computer systems. This will, in turn, allow participating schools to provide integrated Internet and communications services to their staff and pupils. The infrastructure, delivered through MPLS technology, will ultimately provide connectivity speeds ranging between 15 and 50 Mbps, depending on the location, at the highest security and privacy levels, compared to the current speed of only 2 Mbps. He added that more than one and a half million students and 80,000 teachers will benefit from this project, which will kick off this year and continue for a period of five years.
Dr. Al-Thnaibat added that this ambitious vision of connecting schools with a special, secure and fast communications network will provide teachers and pupils with an interactive learning environment, and will also allow administrators to communicate more rapidly, in turn facilitating the communication process and expediting decision-making related to the educational process. Furthermore, the agreement includes time attendance system in addition to the provision of electronic protection services such as camera surveillance systems.
The Minister of Education added that this project embodies the partnership between the private and public sectors at its best. He expressed his appreciation for the role that Umniah, a pioneer in the field of communications and information technologies solutions and applications, has played and explained that the telecom company's selection as a partner in the project was based on a tender floated by the MoE and SCC. The criteria submitted by Umniah requires high levels of technology, accuracy and developed technological solutions, pointing out that the MoE is proud to implement this national endeavor in partnership with a national company that has the advanced human and technological capacities, locally and internationally.
The network, according to Dr. Al-Thnaibat, will connect the majority of government schools throughout the Kingdom and will maximize the financial resources spent annually on Internet and communications services, independently between MoE, schools and education directorates, as well as districts and governorates.
On behalf of the SCC, which is overseeing the project, Engineer Brigadier General Ali Al-Assaf said that the Commission has leveraged its experience and qualifications to evaluate this project in order to provide the most accurate technical and security criteria, ensuring the effective use of technology in the service of the teaching process.
He added that the project is in line with the directives of His Majesty King Abdullah II, and its implementation is a direct result of His Majesty's vision to harness the technological developments in the field of information and communications technology. Al-Assaf pointed out that this national project is a qualitative addition to the National Broadband Network (NBN) implemented by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.
Umniah CEO Ziad Shatara, who will spearhead the execution of the project, said that this project reflects the company's vision of participating in the development of Jordan's educational sector. He reiterated his confidence that the project would represent a quantum leap in improving the efficiency of the educational sector and the provision of non-conventional tools in the teaching process. Schools and educators will be able to benefit from educational resources available online, leading to a fundamental growth of a knowledge-based economy, an essential achievement underlined by several national strategies in the Kingdom.
Shatara added, "Umniah's mission will be to enable the education sector in the Kingdom to access the most up-to-date technological developments in the field of teaching and knowledge methods. We will connect schools and education governorates through a high-speed secured network, allowing these institutions the ability to exchange and share educational materials and content. These benefits will support students and teachers throughout the country, allowing interactive learning experiences driven by the latest technologies." Shatara went on to add that Umniah will begin the implementation of the project in stages, in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and other relevant parties.
Shatara pointed out that Umniah will implement the project in phases, and will seek to benefit from all available resources and investments related to the realization of the project by working alongside the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and all other concerned parties.
The Prime Minister conducted a conference call with the headmistress of the school, inquired about the project and its advantages, discussing how it reflects on the development and improvement of the educational process. Furthermore, Dr. Ensour consulted with the headmistress on the inner workings of the educational process at the school. For her part, the headmistress stressed the importance and potential of the project in its contribution to education in the country, giving schools the ability to exchange theoretical as well as practical expertise in order to improve the means of learning.
By the end of 2017, Umniah's investment in the expansion and modernization of its wireless network will reach $500 million. This is part of the company's long-term strategy to promote and expand its mobile 4G services to reach all segments of the Jordanian society and to launch its fixed broadband services.