CAIRO: Intel held a special event on Thursday to celebrate the training of 100,000 teachers in Egypt through its “Teach program, which was launched in Egypt three years ago with the objective of training teachers on a new pedagogic approach relying on the effective integration of technology in the classroom.
“This is only the first phase of our target to train 650,000 teachers by 2011, said Intel Country Manager of Egypt Khaled Elamrawi during the ceremony, which was attended by Minister of Education Yousry El Gamal and Intel’s Vice President and General Manager of Corporate Affairs Group William Swope.
“Through the Intel Teach program, teachers learn new instructional methods, shifting from the teacher-doing-everything to a new more student-centered approach, said William Swope. “Students not only learn about the subject matter, but also have the opportunity to use the technology and information they gather to help their local community.
Swope also expressed his admiration for the cooperation between the different ministries, namely the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Education, to support the implementation of this program.
Minister of Education Yousry El Gamal asserted the ministry’s dedication to equip the teachers with the skills needed to deal with latest technologies.
“This dedication is manifested in the inclusion of technological capabilities in the set of skills needed for teachers to enter the new cadre, which is a new compensation system for teachers that was primarily designed to increase their income, El Gamal added.
“At the beginning of the program, we received an intensive 80 hours of training, said Ihab Anani, one of the teachers trained through Teach, “after which, we were instructed to train other teachers on the innovative approaches we learned.
Asked whether they faced resistance when implementing the acquired skills, Anani said, “There was not much resistance from the side of the students, but there was a lot of it coming from their parents.
“The other front of resistance was the supervisors and fellow teachers. They were not able to cope with these new methods, and although some changed their mindsets with time, some are still making it difficult for us to apply what we’ve learned.
Last year, the Teach program was further developed to save teachers’ time and increase the number of trainees. A new online interface was introduced and run in parallel with the face-to-face version of the training, resulting in the reduction of the training hours from 80 to 30.
The tremendous success of the program in Egypt was the main motivation behind William Swope’s first visit to the Arab world. Swope, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel s Corporate Affairs Group, manages global business units at Intel and is responsible for worldwide public policy, education, community engagement, public affairs, social responsibility and the Intel Foundation.
His trip began with a special visit to Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Public School in Heliopolis in which Intel announced their initiative on the Classmate PC and 1:1 e-learning with wireless ADSL connectivity in a live classroom.
The classmate PC is a small, mobile learning assistant developed specially for students in emerging markets, and is designed to provide affordable, collaborative learning environments for students from grades 2-9 and their teachers. It features built-in wireless Internet with simultaneously durable design for day-to-day active use by children. This 1:1 e-learning environment includes a dedicated laptop computer for each student and teacher.
Built as a mobile learning assistant, the Classmate PC integrates easily into the classroom while being easy to carry and light-weight. So far, Intel has donated 250 Classmate PCs to Egypt to conduct 1:1 e-learning pilots.
“In education, our focus is on comprehensive, long-term programs that improve learning through access to capable technology, high-speed connectivity, effective teaching methods, and relevant content, said Swope.
Swope then announced the official opening of two special multi-core research and training lab donations to Cairo University, one of four universities in Egypt that Intel is providing with multi-core research and training labs, in addition to another being donated to the Information Technology Institute (ITI), part of the MCIT. The other three universities include Alexandria University, Mansoura University, and Assiut University.