Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
2 November 2020
ICT Minister Witnesses Signing MoU between MCIT, Ohio State University for Granting M.Sc. in Cybersecurity

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has witnessed, via videoconference, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and The Ohio State University, in the US, for providing a technical Master’s program in cybersecurity.

This comes within the framework of Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) that aims to develop the capabilities of and equip the graduates of the faculties of engineering, and computers and information, with knowledge and practical experiences through a comprehensive educational training program. The aim is to qualify those graduates to implement Digital Egypt projects, and boost their competitiveness in the local and international labor markets.

Cybersecurity is one of DEBI main tracks, for developing national cadres possessing the skills required in this field, who are scarce worldwide. This is to achieve digital security and confront cyberattacks, globally growing with the increased dependence of all sectors on communication networks and computer systems and devices.

The ICT Minister highlighted that the scientific cooperation with The Ohio State University in cybersecurity comes in MCIT keenness to build the capacities of young Egyptians and establish local and international partnerships in modern technologies.

MCIT is carrying out an ambitious capacity building program, with the aim to build Digital Egypt with the young Egyptian minds. MCIT capacity building strategy is pyramidal in model; the base of which is represented in training a large number of young people. The pyramid then advances in specialization as it goes up, until it reaches DEBI, which represents the top of the pyramid, Talaat added.

DEBI is based on a vision that knowledge, science and technology are the cornerstones for building the future, said the ICT Minister. The initiative aims to develop specialized cadres capable of enriching the ICT industry in Egypt, and provide them with a comprehensive set of skills, including technical, practical, language and personal skills. This aims to create a new generation of promising young Egyptians and prepare them to become global leaders, capable of achieving the vision of building Digital Egypt, said the ICT Minister, adding that the initiative helps provide the specialized cadres required by the local and international companies operating in the ICT sector.

For his part, the Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Motaz Zahran commended the efforts exerted, that resulted in signing the MoU and establishing Egyptian-American cooperation at scientific and technical levels, in cybersecurity. He praised the initiative and its role in building the capabilities of Egyptian youth, which comes within the framework of the strategy of building the Egyptian citizen.

The US Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan R. Cohen underlined that the cooperation represents a new step in the journey of the Egyptian-American cooperation in a specialization, namely cybersecurity, in one of the top universities in the US in research in cybersecurity, through the University's Institute for Cybersecurity and Digital Trust. He added that the American Embassy in Cairo supports the initiatives that contribute to achieving the digital transformation in Egypt.

The Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technological Talents Hoda Baraka stated that the initiative targets training 1,000 young people ever year, with a one-year course of study. Graduates are granted a technical Master’s degree from top international universities, in one of the in-depth ICT disciplines, including data science and Artificial Intelligence (AI); cybersecurity; robotics and automation; and digital arts. This is in addition to certificates in leadership and English language skills, from international tech companies.

The Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson underscored the University’s eagerness to establish a distinguished model of cooperation with MCIT, in a way that contributes to creating a broad base of specialized cadres in cybersecurity, to compete at the global level. The University has a 150 year old mission for providing knowledge locally, regionally and globally, she added.

The Ohio State University is one of the top American universities; it occupies an outstanding position among universities in world rankings. The University provides world class graduate and scientific research programs, and occupies the 30th place ranking among electronics engineering, communications and computer science universities in the US. The University, in addition, occupies the first place ranking among American universities in granting the Bachelor’s degree through e-learning mechanisms, and the 19th among the top engineering Master’s programs.

The technical Master’s degree in cybersecurity is offered by The Ohio State University through its Institute of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust that aims, through its activities, to enhance cooperation between researchers from various academic disciplines, to develop technical solutions for cybersecurity and digital trust complex issues. The Institute also aims to partner with other educational, governmental and industrial institutions, to identify emerging challenges of cybersecurity and find innovative ways to solve them, through research, education and partnership.

According to the MoU, students are granted a technical Master’s degree in cybersecurity through combining a certificate of enabling and operating cybersecurity systems, and a certificate of cybersecurity system design and implementation, along with completing a graduation project, in cooperation with international companies.

Applicants to the program must meet the admission requirements for The Ohio State University, to be able to join the program. Study includes three semesters of 30 credit hour courses. The program is delivered by specialized professors, faculty members of the Institute of Cybersecurity and Digital Trust, with the participation of Egyptian professors and international companies, with the aim to support the learning process and enhance the practical component and graduation projects.

The MoU was signed by Deputy ICT Minister for Infrastructure Raafat Hindy, Ohio State’s Senior Vice President for Research Morley Stone, and Dean of the Ohio State College of Engineering David B. Williams.

From the Egyptian side, the virtual signing ceremony was joined by Cultural Counselor at the Egyptian Embassy in the US Mohamed Hamza; CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) Amr Mahfouz; Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technological Talents Hoda Baraka; Head of the Applied Innovation Center (AIC) Ahmed Tantawy; and a number of MCIT officials, professors of engineering and computer science and academic consultants to MCIT.

From the American side, Chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at The Ohio State University Hesham El Gamal attended the ceremony.

Launched in September 2020, DEBI is a grant offered to top graduates of public Egyptian universities, classes of 2016-2020, who completed their study at the Faculty of Engineering, computer, electronics, telecommunications or medical departments; Faculty of Computer Science; or Faculty of Science, mathematics and computer science departments, nationwide. Students are selected according to specific admission criteria.

The initiative is implemented in collaboration with major international universities specialized in modern technology fields, and a number of local and international companies specializing in ICT and leadership and language skills development.

For more information and registration for the initiative, please call 15388.

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