Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
28 November 2020
ICT Minister Witnesses Signing MoU between MCIT, University of Ottawa within DEBI

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has witnessed, via videoconference, the signing of a cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and the University of Ottawa in Canada. The aim is to offer a professional Master's program in electrical and computer engineering, in Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science, Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics.

This comes within the framework of Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) that targets developing the capacities of top graduates at the Faculties of Engineering and Computers and Information, as well as equipping them with science and hands-on experiences through a comprehensive educational and training program. This is to qualify them to carryout Digital Egypt projects, and boost their competitiveness in local and global labor markets.

During the meeting, the ICT Minister expressed his happiness with signing the MoU with the University of Ottawa, one of world’s top universities in ICT. He presented MCIT strategy for building Digital Egypt with the aim to achieve the digital transformation in Egypt and build a strong digital economy based on three pillars: digital transformation, digital skills, and digital innovation.

He stressed the significance of having experts and skilled people, capable of driving the digital transformation; adding that qualifying the Egyptian citizen for the era of digital transformation is the first step in building Digital Egypt. For this, MCIT seeks to promote research, development, innovation and entrepreneurship in ICT, to develop the ICT sector and transform Egypt into a regional innovation hub, Talaat said.

Egypt is a promising country; more than 20% of its population is in the 18-29 age group, stated the ICT Minister, highlighting that there are about five hundred thousand graduates in IT- related areas, every year. Egypt is also witnessing a rapid growth in digital innovation and entrepreneurship, he added.

The ICT Minister underlined that the MoU with the University of Ottawa seeks to offer a professional Master's degree in engineering, to top university graduates, in electrical and computer engineering, in data science, AI, robotics and IoT. He added that he looks forward to a fruitful cooperation with the University of Ottawa within the framework of DEBI.

For his part, the Egyptian Ambassador to Canada Ahmed Abu Zeid commended DEBI as it seeks to empower the next generation of young Egyptians to implement Digital Egypt vision. He said that signing the MoU follows weeks of negotiation and hard work to reach a final agreement, according to which hundreds of Egyptian graduates shall pursue postgraduate studies in areas of great priority to the Egyptian government.

Education is a vital area of cooperation between Egypt and Canada; the Canadian education sector has always attracted Egyptian students, stated Abu Zeid. He said he was happy that the University of Ottawa is the first Canadian institution to join the Initiative, in light of the University's keenness to maintain the highest level of professionalism and distinction, and to introduce the latest technology in education.

Canada’s Ambassador-Designate to Egypt Louis Dumas underscored the significance of the partnership between MCIT and the University of Ottawa in education, an area of high priority to Egypt and Canada and one of the key drivers of economic growth. He highlighted that Canada is an excellent partner in the Research and Development (R&D) field, and a hub of knowledge, innovation and creativity. This comes in Canada’s keenness to build new generations of knowledgeable and innovative young people, he stated.

Dumas said that he looks forward to the establishment of new bridges between Egypt and Canada through this partnership, and commended the efforts exerted by all partners to cooperate within the Initiative, with the aim to create learning opportunities and build competitive capabilities.

The Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technological Talents Hoda Baraka stated that building capacities in advanced technology and upskilling youth to innovate is a fundamental pillar of the work approach towards building Digital Egypt, based on the cruciality of education as a key to development.

Baraka highlighted that DEBI is implemented in cooperation with top notch universities, specialized in modern technologies, in addition to international companies specializing in ICT and language and leadership skills development. She expressed her appreciation of the University of Ottawa for partnering up with MCIT to implement the Initiative.

For his part, the President of the University of Ottawa Jacques Frémont underlined that this partnership will help achieve the common goals between the two parties, providing world-class learning opportunities to build future generations; adding that the University of Ottawa works through global partnerships. He stated that the University is listed among the world’s top 150 universities.

Through the initiative, Frémont highlighted, 100 Egyptian students will enroll in a Master's program at the University of Ottawa, every year. He said that technology has helped provide distance learning opportunities, for developing innovative technological solutions to the challenges facing societies.

The University of Ottawa is one of the top research universities in Canada and is a national leading institution in research related to applied AI, Machine Learning (ML), data science, IoT and robotics. The University occupies an advanced position in developing Responsible AI tools, through research, training and innovation.

The University of Ottawa has placed 145th in the world in the 2021 Times Higher Education ranking. It is also ranked #192 in Best Global Universities and #8 in Best Global Universities in Canada, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Rankings.

The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the University of Ottawa was formed in 1997 by the merger of the Department of Computer Science and of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. EECS is a research institute that provides learning opportunities in areas related to computing, computers and communications. The interdisciplinary School combines four cutting-edge disciplines: electrical engineering, software engineering, computer engineering, and computer science.

EECS offers an online Master's degree in engineering; this is a 27-credit-hour program that is completed in a year, in three semesters. The Master of Engineering Electrical and Computer Engineering program comprises two tracks, with each student choosing one to study. Tracks are AI and Data Science, and IoT and Robotics.

The MoU was signed by the Deputy ICT Minister for Infrastructure Raafat Hindy, and the University of Ottawa’s President Jacques Frémont.

The signing ceremony was attended by the CEO of the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) Amr Mahfouz; the Assistant ICT Minister for Strategy and Implementation Sherine El-Guindy; the Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technology Innovation, Electronics Industry and Training Hossam Osman; the Head of the Applied Innovation Center (AIC) Ahmed Tantawy; a number of officials from MCIT; and a number of professors of engineering and computer science and academic advisors to MCIT.

From the University of Ottawa, the ceremony was attended by the Vice-President International and Francophonie Sanni Yaya, and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Jacques Beauvais.

Launched in September 2020, DEBI is a free scholarship, offered to 1,000 young people from different governorates, who are top graduates at the Egyptian public universities, classes of 2016-2020. Applicants must have completed their study at the Faculties of Engineering, Departments of Computer Engineering, Electronics, Communications, or Medical Engineering, or Faculties of Computers and Information, or Faculties of Science, Department of Mathematics, Computer major.

Participants are selected according to certain admission criteria, with the study course lasting one full year. DEBI graduates are granted a professional Master’s degree from a top-notch university, in an ICT- related area, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science; cybersecurity; robotics and automation; and digital arts. This is in addition to training certificates provided by major technology companies, a certificate in leadership and administration skills, and a certificate in English language.

In early November 2020, MCIT inked an MoU with The Ohio State University, to provide participants of the Initiative a professional Master’s degree in cybersecurity.

Registration for the Spring 2021 Semester opened in November 4, and will close on November 30. The application process, selection of candidates, preparation for assessments and scheduling of personal interviews is currently underway.

For more information, please call 15388, or visit DEBI website 

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