In all, 75 of the public centers have now been established in Jordan as part of a wide-ranging initiative designed to promote access to technology resources and training for Jordanians.
Their Majesties King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Abdullah today attended an event, held at the Princess Iman Bint Abdullah Knowledge Station in Amman, which was hosted by the King Abdullah II Fund For Development, to recognize the Royal Commission mandated with overseeing the implementation of the centers, donor organizations, partners and key players involved in the Knowledge Station project. Minister of ICT Dr. Fawaz H. Zu’bi, Minister of Education Dr. Khaled Touqan, Minister of Planning Dr. Bassem Awadallah, Stephen M Case, chairman and co-founder of AOL Time Warner, Mrs. Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation and Dr. Yousef Nuseir, President of National Information Center were also in attendance at the ceremony.
“So far, the Knowledge Stations located throughout the Kingdom have enabled over 25,000 people to build new technology skills with a number of training courses ranging from basic computer literacy through to advanced technology skills,” said Dr. Zu’bi. “Over 60% of the people who have received training at the stations were women, which is a major achievement for the scheme.”
In addition to the official trainers housed within each station who conduct official computer literacy and other more advanced training to citizens, the Knowledge Stations are also manned by young people recruited and trained as part of the NetCorps Jordan program. NetCorps Jordan is a pioneering program aiming to actively involve Jordan’s youth in the socio-economic development of the country through ICT. There are currently 70 interns trained and working in Knowledge Stations, with a target of 550 young people trained and working at the centres and other locations over the next three years. NetCorps Jordan, that is supported by the USAID funded AMIR Programme, is implemented by the Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for Development (ZENID) in partnership with the MoICT.
“All Jordanian communities, regardless of their geographical location or economic status are being secured with easy and affordable access to the Internet and ICT services through the Knowledge Stations, which will lead to a wealth of opportunities,” said Dr. Awadallah. “ What makes the Knowledge Station project unique is that the stations are managed and operated by local communities and are hosted by youth clubs and other voluntary and charity organizations. We believe that NetCorps helps people to help themselves: It contributes toward the creating of a culture based on self-sufficiency which will in turn lead into economic and social advancement.”
The Knowledge Station initiative was launched by His Majesty King Abdullah II’s personal efforts. The King Abdullah II Fund for Development was entrusted with the continuous responsibility of bringing together the necessary resources for the development and eventual sustainability of the Knowledge Stations. In addition to their role as training centres, the 75 centers throughout the Kingdom all provide walk–in public access service that includes Internet linked PCs, fax machines, photocopiers and other multimedia technology services.
“This initiative builds opportunities for people to drive community-level education and access to technology, it creates opportunities for young people to learn real-world technology skills and it broadens public access to technology. There’s no understating its importance,” said Dr. Touqan. “The Knowledge Stations also provide people with the resources to support adult education and retraining in order to build their technology skills and so provides a major push for Jordan’s technology vision.”
The Knowledge Station project has already played a major role in developing people’s technology skills in many of Jordan’s underprivileged areas. Supported by an array of stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including donor agencies and technology companies, the initiative forms part of a major cross-sectoral push in Jordan to build new economic opportunities based on information and communications technologies.
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