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					 TERENA Networking Conference 2001


International Cooperation in IT
      in the Middle East:
  Obstacles & Opportunities


             Marwan Tarazi
         Birzeit University – BIT
             mtarazi@birzeit.edu
       IT and Globalization
   Advances in IT have been so rapid that it has
   changed the shape of all economic activities
   in the world, and has pushed the world
   towards globalization. Economies, which do
   not deploy a leading edge communication
   and information processing capabilities, and
   which do not have the qualified human
   resources to run and sustain such
   capabilities, will be pushed outside the world
   market gradually.

17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
       Information Poverty
   “Information poverty”, at every level of
   society, impairs public and private
   decision-making, policy making,
   planning without facts.
   low productivity, poor quality research,
   and valuable time wasted hunting for
   information and repeating research
   already done
17 May 2001    Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Widening of the
                  G A P
   Information Gap is resulting in Power
   flow towards the elite who already
   possess the power and weakening
   those who are deprived
   The world will experience increasing
   gap between the rich and the poor
   countries and rich and the poor within
   developing countries
17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              IT and Poverty
                Alleviation
   The poor are the largest human
   resource in developing countries

   Human Resources are amongst the few
   resources the M.E. Countries possess

   IT services are highly labor-intensive
   (whether highly skilled or lower-skilled)

17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
         IT and the Political
              Situation
   Information Technology is abolishing distance
   IT can ease restrictions of movement by
   providing an alternative media for work,
   education, health, etc.
   One of the reasons the ME is in such a state
   is due to such an information GAP:
    “The only way nations can secure justice,
      sovereignty and economic rights is through the
      development of the means to protect such rights”
                                                     A.B. Zahlan


17 May 2001        Research Networks in Med Region       mtarazi@birzeit.edu
 Information Technology
           is a
               MUST
   As a tool for development and for
   bridging the development gap

   As an industry for economic
   growth, development and poverty
   alleviation

17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
           (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)




Technology
    in the Arab
            World
                                                   (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)


              Poor Knowledge
               Infrastructure
   No adequate libraries
   Poor access to international
   knowledge
   No access to local knowledge
   generated within the Arab world or
   within each country
   Weak educational systems

17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
     Science, Technology
                                                       (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)




     and Innovation in the
          Arab World
    Import of ready technologies
    No culture of Transfer of Knowledge
        200 years ago George Stephans was awarded the
         contract to build the first Egyptian railway

        Arabs have failed to develop the technology base
         for these and other mechanical industries.

        Sept 1999: Bill Gates donates MS products to
         government of Jordan… IMPACT???
17 May 2001          Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
                                                    (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)




   Very few Centers of creative work in scientific
   or technical fields
   Weak academic base
   No pockets of high quality science and
   technology (like India), even though per
   capita scientific publications in India are lower
   than the Arab world.
   Fragmented (internally and within the
   Diaspora)

17 May 2001       Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
                                                  (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)


              Research and
              Development
   Production and ownership of knowledge
   is a serious business
   Expenditure on R&D Worldwide in 1999
   > $500 billion
   Top 300 companies spent $253 billion
   These companies spent 33% more in
   1999 than in 1996 in pursuit of profit
   and survival

17 May 2001     Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
                                                   (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)




   R&D in the Arab World
   Widespread disregard of scientific
   research by Arab governments and
   industries, e.g.
     Leading 30 firms in chemical industry in the
      world spent $16 billion on R&D
     Although many Arab chemical firms rank
      among those, not one of them has
      developed its R&D capabilities
   - total R&D expenditure in the Arab
   World in 1999 did not exceed 1 billion
17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
                                                 (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)




         HR and Brain Drain
   Displacement and substitution of old
   technologies by new technologies kills
   jobs in Developing Countries and
   creates new ones in OECD
   OECD spend significant effort on
   education, training and retraining
   Yet rate of technological change is so
   fast that existing HR production system
   cannot keep up.
17 May 2001    Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
                                                (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)




 The OECD Zero Cost Solution

   OECD countries have realized that
   attracting HR from Third World
   Countries is a solution to their HR
   needs at Zero Cost.
   OECD countries will probably “drain” 50
   to 80% of Arab World IT experts in the
   coming few years (as with doctors and
   engineers in the 70s)
17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
How to Stop The “Drain”
   The only way Third World countries
   could afford to retain their own
   human resources is if they
   established a suitable infrastructure
   to enable their human resources to
   contribute to national economic
   progress.

17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
                                                (Quoted from A.B. Zahlan, 2000)




 New Rules of the Game

   Innovation and skills are the
   generators of economic growth

   Capabilities in science depend
   on sophisticated systems
   sustained by an entire society
17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region              mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              IT in M.E.
   Growing National Awareness
   Being dealt with independently from
   sciences, R&D and innovation.
   Serious initiatives by some countries,
   e.g. Jordan and Egypt.
   Varying levels of an “enabling”
   environments

17 May 2001    Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Low Quality of IT
                 Education
1.    the lack of adequately qualified trainers and
      educators
2.    Outdated curricula and methodology
3.    Slow pace of responding to a rapidly
      changing technology
4.    Absence of vivid and dynamic linkages to
      business and industry
5.    Rigidity of the educational system
6.    Limited Resources

17 May 2001       Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Small number of
               professionals
   The low intake capacity of IT education
   programs: the currently available
   programs produce a small number of IT
   graduates in areas required by the labor
   market, or necessary to create an
   industry.



17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
  IT sector is NOT-Global
            in a
       GLOBAL World

   Local market too small
   Hardly any links with the Diaspora
   No international marketing experience
   No international IT business experience
   Limited participation in regional and
   global networks
17 May 2001    Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
International
      Cooperation


 Opportunities and Obstacles
        Opportunities in
       Knowledge Transfer
   Training                      Industry
   Joint Projects                Partnerships
   R&D                           Access to
   Exchanges                     Knowledge
   Advise                        Networking

17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Obstacles
   Poor or NO Strategic Planning
   National decisions are made according
   to political or personal interests
   Non favorable enabling environments
   Individualism
   Poor utilization of expatriate expertise
   Political agendas imposed by
   International partners
17 May 2001    Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
     Birzeit University
     Pilot Projects in
       International
     Cooperation in IT


17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
Center of
Excellence in IT
              MISSION
   Building a human resource supply
   infrastructure that will inject the IT
   sector with highly skilled IT
   professionals at the industry,
   education and policy and decision
   making levels.


17 May 2001    Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Target Groups
   High-quality IT graduates.
   High-quality graduates in non-IT disciplines
   Updating of IT professionals
   Short programs in specialized, focused areas
   Support for undergraduate courses
   Support the development of university faculty
   Liaison with similar international centers
   Training of the trainers facility

17 May 2001     Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Training Strategy
      Identification of needs
      Internationally accredited programs
      Build partnerships locally, regionally and
      globally for trainee placements, practical
      work
      Train trainers, and integrate programs into:
    1.    General IT training programs
    2.    Academic programs in formal education
          programs
      Develop specialized training programs for
      partner organizations or projects.

17 May 2001         Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              R&D Activities
   Research IT trends, opportunities and needs
   Set strategies, policies and programs for the Center
   accordingly.
   Research new technologies, methodologies,
   programs, etc.
   Identify potential research projects, request for
   proposals, etc
   Develop research & development capabilities that
   facilitate innovation for IT sector


17 May 2001        Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
   Business Development
         Activities
   Business opportunities for graduates through:
       Advice
        professional matchmaking
       identification of potential partners and customers.
   Develop IT incubator facilities and services
   Provide consulting services
   Participate in strategic projects that have a
   developmental impact on IT

17 May 2001          Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
       Partnership Building

   Build strategic
   partnerships with various
   stakeholders within the IT
   sector locally, regionally
   and internationally.



17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Partnership Building
                   Activities
   Expatriate Arabs
     High Brain Drain from Arab countries
     High number of Arabs per capita basis
      studying abroad
   International Educational Institutes
   International Companies and
   corporations

17 May 2001        Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
        Allocated Premises




17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
               The Center of
              Excellence is…
     A national resource
     Promotes “best practice”
     A Pilot
     Node for development

17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
Complementing Projects

              Center of
              Excellence
                      Center for
                       Vocational
                          and
                     Professional
                     Training

17 May 2001       Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
Center for Professional and
   Vocational Training
   Developing a Training infrastructure for
   producing a large number of qualified IT
   professionals
   Targeting:
     The IT “labor force”: Medium to lower skilled
     The users of IT in other disciplines

   Reliance is mostly on local resources

17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
                   Activities
   Developing Curricula

   Emphasis on methodology:
       Students take an active approach to learning
       The role of the teacher changes from a distributor
        of book learning to a tutor guiding students.
       … better balance between the learning of factual
        knowledge and the mastering of concepts and
        processes.

17 May 2001          Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
               …/Activities
   Emphasis on soft skills:
     Creative thinking, problem solving,
      languages
     Team work

   Industry partnerships
   Practical work and placement



17 May 2001      Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
        Training of Trainers
   Update technical skills
   Pedagogy
   New methodology
   International Certifications
   Target professionals


17 May 2001   Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
  Training of High School
         Teachers
   Ninety sever percent of all students
   complete grade 10
   Clear shortcomings in knowledge and
   skills
   The key to a qualified future workforce
   is in upgrading high school education
   The one most important factor is
   training of high school teachers

17 May 2001    Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
              Key to Success
   Students take an active approach to learning
       The role of the teacher changes from a distributor
        of book learning to a tutor guiding students.
       … better balance between the learning of factual
        knowledge and the mastering of concepts and
        processes.
   Emphasis on soft skills:
       Creative thinking, problem solving, languages
       Team work


17 May 2001          Research Networks in Med Region   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
We are looking for
           PARTNERS

      Marwan Tarazi
  Birzeit University – BIT
   mtarazi@birzeit.edu
Thank You
     Marwan Tarazi
 Birzeit University – BIT
  mtarazi@birzeit.edu

				
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posted:11/3/2011
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