Photograph — digiday

Egypt’s Ministry of Education and global ICT giant, IBM have reached a cooperation agreement to set up a school, based on the P-TECH model. The Pathways in Technology Early College High-School model allows students to earn diplomas or industry-specific associate degrees, and gain useful work experience, making for a smooth, optional transition from school to workplace. Basically, graduates of this system emerge ready to work, having already been equipped with industry-relevant skills and are considerably up-to-speed on the most immediate demands of their new jobs.

Egypt’s Education Minister said the school will produce graduates in such trendsetting disciplines as cybersecurity, data analytics, cloud computing, and AI. P-TECH model seeks to address in one swoop both digital competency and workforce readiness. Sited in Shorouk City, the school will accept sixty students for the first academic year, which begins in September 2019. IBM volunteers will mentor students, organize site visits, and help plan school projects. In five years’ time, these students can get jobs in places like the IBM Marketing Services Center in Cairo, which was established earlier this year with the target of employing top Egyptian talents.

“IBM is proud to support the holistic efforts that the government is currently making for national education reform. Through 65 years of our presence in Egypt, IBM has always stressed on the importance of investing in the country’s youth. With this initiative, we are leading the way for Egyptian students to build skills for the technology era,” said IBM Egypt’s General Manager, Wael Abdoush.

P-TECH schools typically span grades 9-14, enabling students to earn both a high school diploma and a two-year postsecondary degree in a STEM course, for free. It is public school reform-type model, developed to serve underprivileged students, who may ordinarily be discouraged from attempting careers in these high-profile, futuristic disciplines due to the associated costs and delays in reward. Upon graduation, students can choose to continue studying in a university, or make entry-level starts in a variety of competitive fields. While typically lasting six years, a student can complete the P-TECH module in four years, by no means a normal education model.

Egypt is no stranger to innovative education models, as it currently uses Japan’s Tokkastu system, in its bid to refocus the country’s educational policy. This IBM cooperation will further enhance the current regime as a revolutionary adopter of new ways of scholarship, one where young people are encouraged to embrace big ideas. As only one of 14 countries to adopt P-TECH globally, the country got its first Blockchain school last year. Put together, this could all lead to a future where Egypt not only becomes North Africa’s leader in ICT and STEM but give Rwanda a fight in technological innovation on the continent.

By Caleb Ajinomoh

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