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    Signing Protocol to Develop Al-Azhar Institutes

    Cairo, 2 June 2014

    Sheikh Al-Azhar Al-Sheirf Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb and the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Atef Helmy, in the presence of the Planning Minister Ashraf El-Araby inaugurated today the experimental broadcast of “Panorama of Al-Azhar Al-sharif Memory Heritage”.

    The project is implemented by Al-Azhar Al-Sharif library in cooperation with the Center for Documentation of Cultural and Natural Heritage (Cultnat) affiliated to Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).

    The project aims to highlight the role of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif through history since its establishment more than one thousand years ago. This conforms to a joint cooperation protocol signed in 2011 between Al- Azhar Al-Sharif and MCIT to prepare for Al-Azhar Al-Sharif Memory project.

    A new protocol was signed today between both entities to pursue this project with a total budget of 300 million EGP.

    The project entails the documentation of Al-Azhar honoring stances through its long history and its national and Islamic impact; Al-Azhar Imams’ biographies, books and achievements; the architectural heritage of Al-Azhar mosque and ancient religious institutes; media memory of Al-Azhar.

    Information is published in English, Arabic and French through Al-Azhar Al-Sharif online memory, Panoram Al-Azhar heritage at Al-Azhar library and a group of publications, the most important of which is “selections of Al-Azhar memory”.

    The project, Grand Imam El-Tayeb said, aimed to recall Al-Azhar significant role to the minds of Muslims and the world, highlight its part to spread moderation, contain differences between sects, maintain the Islamic identity in different parts of the world and across eras.

    Helmy assured that the technology advancement introduced new concepts for digital documentation that could help document Al-Azhar memory, ensuring the Ministry’s continuous keenness to cooperate with such  giant entity considered a heritage, intellect and religious center not only in Egypt and the Arab countries but also for the whole world.

    The project outcomes would see light through an e-portal, printing materials as well as other forms, in December 2014.

    The heritage panorama is an Egyptian invention that acquired a patent in 2007; it is an outcome of Cultnat tremendous efforts to use the latest digital panoramic shows techniques to showcase the Egyptian heritage.

    A special copy was prepared to showcase Al-Azhar heritage where the viewer can find, for the first time, the different audio-visual factors of Al-Azhar Al-Sherif history in a well-structured and attractive manner.

    Moreover, El-Tayeb and Helmy signed a joint cooperation protocol to develop Al-Azhar institutes for primary, preparatory and secondary stages using ICT, to achieve Al-Azhar Al-Sharif’s strategy seeking to promote basic education system before joining Al-Azhar university.

    It also aims to develop education at Al-Azhar institutes through integrating ICT tools in the education process, narrowing the gap between Al-Azhar students and their colleagues in the official State’s system regarding the use of technology.

    The protocol aims to raise the efficiency of the education process through encouraging e-learning and ongoing learning everywhere, encourage the use of ICT to achieve a quantum leap towards the shift to a knowledge society and to strengthen the 21st century skills at the educational community in Al-Azhar. It also aims at encouraging Arabic e-content industry online and building the Egyptian information society through preparing a generation capable of dealing with technology updated tools.

    The protocol includes a number of projects:
    First, automating the administrative educational system by establishing an employees’ management system at the main sectors and Al-Azhar institutes, a management system of Al-Azhar Institutes, a geographical map of Al-Azhar institutes nationwide, a library database, besides developing an inspection system, an interactive educational e-portal and an information help line for the institutes, a technology infrastructure follow-up system in the institutes and providing licenses for operating systems at the institutes.

    Second, the educational systems projects including the education content, digitizing curricula, establishing Arabic encyclopedia, providing applications and services for visually impaired people, providing digital services for students and parents, providing simulation and open source software and virtual laboratories, establishing a digital bibliotheca on cloud computing for the educational content through community participation and open content, and establishing specialized education channels online and e-learning project.

    Third, the development of education institutions infrastructure including tablet based education project (an integrated e-learning system), providing ADSL to some institutes, improving the technology infrastructure in the institutes (computer labs and networks)

    Fourth, development of teachers’ human capacity in Al-Azhar institutes including teaching open source software inside educational institutes, qualifying human resources and developing leadership and change management skills

    Fifth, ecological systems and sustainability, including activating institutes as societal education centers, activating partnerships between the private sector and the educational institutions.

    The total budget of the 3-year protocol reaches around 216 million EGP.         

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