The Ministry of Education, in cooperation with the Special Communications Commission (SCC) of the Jordanian Armed Forces and Umniah, has completed a project to electronically connect the ministry with various schools and educational directorates nationwide. Through the project, Umniah is providing free and secure internet services to 2764 schools and directorates around the kingdom. A ceremony was held at the Ministry of Education on Monday 30th Oct 2017 announcing the completion of this project, that is classified as the largest data networking initiative in the Kingdom, which was attended by the Minster of Education Dr. Omar Razzaz, Brigadier General Ali Assaf, the Director General of SCC and the CEO of Umniah, Ziad Shatara, in addition to a number of officials from both private and public sectors. The Minister of Education, Dr. Omar Razzaz, highlighted the importance of the project, which offers comprehensive solutions to several technical issues impacting the education sector with regards to connectivity and data sharing. Razzaz further explained that the project provides the necessary infrastructure to deliver internet connectivity and integrated telecom solutions to 2652 schools, 43 districts and 69 administration buildings, which will help boost productivity and allow for the dissemination of digitized educational curricula to all schools covered by the project. Razzaz noted that the project will allow the ministry to implement electronic education programs that will further enrich the learning process, in addition to activating digitization projects implemented by specialized institutions such as The Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development, as the ministry has been developing four electronic curricula for secondary school students, covering mathematics, physics, chemistry and English. The project will also allow for the activation of educational disciplines developed by the ministry in cooperation with global transmedia company Rubicon. The project, noted Razzaz, delivers video conferencing and voice-over-IP tools that connect the ministry to educational districts and schools nationwide at no additional costs, in addition to providing electronic surveillance capabilities and advanced human resource management tools for the ministry, directorates and schools. The project will also provide the infrastructure necessary for implementing electronic examinations and the publication of information systems with increased speed and accuracy. Razzaz explained that the implementation of this project by Umniah is a clear example of a successful partnership between public and private sectors, as Umniah is also providing the internet services needed for the project free of charge. He also expressed his gratitude to the Jordanian Armed and its Special Telecommunications Commission, which has provided regulatory oversight during the project’s implementation. Brigadier General Ali Assaf, the Director General of SCC noted that this project falls in line with the vision of His Majesty King Abdullah II, who called for uniting the efforts of various national agencies and departments to facilitate the implementation of various digital communications and security projects. He further explained that the SCC collaborated with the Ministry of Education on establishing the technical specifications for the project with the objective of elevating the standards of education in the kingdom on numerous levels and staying current on the latest developments in the world of digital technology. The CEO of Umniah Ziad Shatara explained that Umniah was able to implement the project within the timeframe specific by the Ministry of Education and under the established technical specifications, which is a testament to the operator’s ability to provide integrated and cutting-edge telecom solutions for all sectors. Umniah successfully established networks connecting the ministry with various districts operating nationwide, in addition to providing landline telephone services, electronic access control, and external cameras to safeguard the security of the schools. Shatara also noted that Umniah today has become one of the key pioneers of telecom services in the Kingdom and the company with the best value propositions. Shatara also explained that the delivery of free, high-speed and high-capacity internet services to 2764 schools and directorates reflects the operator’s social responsibility and its commitment to serving economic and developmental sectors in the kingdom. He noted that the number of students benefitting from this project will exceed 1.3 million, in addition to around 100,000 employees and teachers throughout local schools and directorates. Brigadier General Assaf explained that the tender for the project was issued on December 3rd, 2015, which was later awarded to Umniah for a budget of JOD 9.5 million. Implementation began on June 27th, 2016, taking place over a number of phases in order to address all feedback and challenges that emerged during each phase and maintain the desired level of quality. The departments of the Ministry of Education and the Special Communications Commission cooperated fully with Umniah throughout the implementation in order to ensure that all issues are addressed promptly. The SCC, noted Assaf, will continue to supervise the project and ensuring a consistent momentum over the course of five years from the conclusion of the implementation phase. Assaf also expressed his gratitude to all parties who contributed to the success of the project, particularly the Ministry of Education for its ongoing monitoring of the project. He also thanked Umniah for its commitment to the successful implementation of the project, highlighting the collaborative approach that made this achievement possible. Umniah’s CEO Ziad Shatara reiterated his great faith in the project, which he believes will create a qualitative leap in the education sector and deliver a plethora of cutting-edge tools that leverage on the power of the internet, thus contributing to the establishment of a knowledge-based economy. Shatara also noted that the initiatives launched by Umniah for the benefit of the education sector fall in line with the vision of His Majesty King Abdullah II, who has repeatedly called for an integrated approach and overarching strategy geared toward the development of local human resources and empowering future generations. These initiatives have been conceived with the primary objective of fostering innovation and creativity, particularly among Jordanian youth, thus providing them with the tools necessary to compete in the job market on both local and international levels. Shatara also noted that Umniah’s mission is to reinforce the education sector by leveraging on cutting-edge technologies to help the development of advanced learning disciplines, as the operator is connecting schools and districts via high-speed data networks that facilitate the distribution of electronic curricula and video materials that will maximize the learning potential for students and allow teachers to share knowledge and experience via audiovisual communications. Shatara also noted that this project will boost research and self-development capacities among students, in addition to contributing to the development of their social and cognitive skills by encouraging information gathering and sharing. This project, added Shatara, will also allow teachers and academics to develop their own skills by providing access to modern teaching practices implemented around the globe.
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