23 October 2020
MCIT Organizes Introductory Session on DEBI

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has organized an introductory session on Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI), in the presence of the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, the heads and representatives of a number of international and local companies, organizations and civil society, as well as academia, faculty staff at Egyptian universities and MCIT officials.

During his talk, the ICT Minister underlined that MCIT launched DEBI with the aim to develop specialized cadres, capable of advancing and enriching the ICT industry in Egypt, after having their skills honed and being equipped with a set of comprehensive skills, including technical, practical, lingual and personal skills.

The aim is to bridge professional divides, overcome the scarcity of digital competencies, and ensure the availability of the expertise required by the local and international companies operating in the ICT sector, he added. Talaat said the initiative will not succeed without the participation of all the elements of the information society, to build the capacities of young people, distinctively.

The session comes in MCIT keenness to enhance partnership and integration with its partners in the ICT sector, in capacity building initiatives; introduce the initiative to the ICT community and present its goals of empowering the next generation of Egyptian youth to become world-class leaders, capable of fulfilling Egypt’s digital vision.

The capacity building strategy in the ICT sector is pyramid in nature, said the ICT Minister. A large number of young people are trained on skills that enable them to join the local labor market and compete in global markets. This is achieved through carrying out six to eight week long courses, such as the Future Work is Digital (FWD) initiative that is managed by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).

Other initiatives have various advanced specializations. This includes Egypt University of Informatics (EUI), established at the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital. It is the first specialized ICT university in the Middle East, aiming to graduate young people specialized in the most in-demand areas at the labor market.

The peak of the capacity building initiatives pyramid is represented in DEBI that seeks to train top engineering and computer science university graduates, from few hundreds to one thousand young people in each batch, in areas that help raise their efficiency, to create a base of specialized cadres, capable of joining the labor market.

The ICT Minister highlighted that DEBI stands on four pillars. The first is the technical, where trainees obtain a professional Master’s degree in one of the following specializations: cybersecurity; Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science; Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics; or digital arts, in collaboration with top-notch universities.

The second pillar is when trainees acquire personal skills to support the technical aspect. Skills include teamwork, time management, leadership, presentation and writing. The third is developing the trainees’ language skills, in a world where people work across different cultures. This is implemented in cooperation with a major specialized company.

The fourth pillar, however, focuses on practical training, which is as much important as the academic. This pillar requires the participation of the local and international companies operating in the Egyptian ICT sector. It involves training the initiative participants in one of the projects that MCIT is carrying out in collaboration with companies; or providing young people internships in those companies and the opportunity to participate in implementing their projects to gain hands-on experience.

DEBI is a free initiative granted by the Egyptian government to top graduates of Egyptian public universities, classes of 2016-2020, who completed their study at the Faculty of Engineering or Computer Science, in different governorates. High priority is given to students with a TOEFL or an IELTS certificate.

The initiative requires full-time work for a year. It includes an extensive and varied academic and practical program that combines technical study, leadership skills, cultural and sporting activities. Academic study is provided in collaboration with the world’s top universities in technical advanced technological disciplines. The practical study, however, is based on cooperation with international companies, to meet the labor market requirements.

The grant includes providing accommodation for students from different governorates, in a full-fledged study environment, with state-of-the-art laboratories and learning platforms.

During the session, the Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technological Talents Hoda Baraka presented DEBI objectives, target groups, and pillars, providing an in-detail explanation of the methodology of implementing the initiative and the role of international universities in it.

Baraka also discussed the mechanisms and areas of cooperation with the partners from the private sector, international organizations and civil society. This includes participating in the initiative’s advisory board, and holding educational and technical seminars to students during the study period, as well as practical workshops in different technology areas.

This is in addition to organizing hackathons for students to help find solutions to life challenges using technology; providing training courses through technical platforms of specialized companies to develop the students’ skills in using such platforms; supporting professional certificates granted by international companies; proposing ideas and supporting graduation projects in different disciplines; as well as helping students carry out actual projects for companies, within their graduation projects.

Cooperation also includes participating in the committees for evaluating and revising the students' graduation project ideas and make sure they meet the labor market requirements; participating in developing the curricula to keep pace with the labor market requirements; linking graduates to the labor market and providing them with job opportunities.

Furthermore, the seminar included an open discussion on the initiative, where all the attendees’ inquiries were answered. The heads of international and local companies, civil society and academia praised the initiative, the implementation approach and its role in providing high-caliber cadres for working in local companies and regional and global markets.

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