Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
29 August 2021
ICT Minister Witnesses ECPC Closing Ceremony

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat, and the President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) Ismail Abdel Ghafar have witnessed the closure of the Egyptian Collegiate Programming Contest (ECPC), organized by AASTMT- Regional Informatics Center (RIC), in cooperation with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) on August 20-28 at AASTMT headquarters in Alexandria.

The competition is the qualifying round for the Africa and Arab Collegiate Programming Championship (ACPC) 2021, scheduled to be held in Luxor during the first week of December. This year's competition is the largest Egyptian competition in software and methods of systematic problem solving so far, with 1186 participating teams from university students this year, in addition to 114 teams. A number of 200 teams participated in the finals of the competition, with 600 students out of 5,000 male and female students representing 72 universities and institutes.

In his speech, Talaat emphasized that building minds is a fundamental pillar for achieving development. He stated that one of the most important pillars of MCIT strategy is the development of human capabilities, being an essential factor for the advancement of the ICT industry. He pointed out that MCIT was able to multiply the number of trainees ten times during the last three years, targeting 500 thousand trainees with investments of EGP 500 million during the current fiscal year.

Talaat stated that the increase in the number of trainees is in parallel with the enhancing efficiency and quality of training content, through promoting partnerships and cooperation with major international companies and specialized academic institutions to provide trainees with applied experiences and distinguished training on the latest methods and technologies. This is in addition to selecting the required specializations in the labor market such as FinTech, digital arts, data science, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other disciplines that are in high demand, in addition to refining soft skills as well as practical experiences gained during the training period to ensure the qualification of trainees for the labor market and competition in the global market.

The ICT Minister added that MCIT and its affiliates adopt three methods to provide specialized training, including the traditional method, through training classes, the digital distance education, or through distance education, with trainers to help trainees overcome difficulties. He explained that the capacity-building strategy includes several tracks that are made available to qualify young people for the national, regional and international labor market, the most prominent of which are the technical schools for students after the preparatory stage, the technology institutes, and Egypt University of Informatics (EUI), which grants bachelors and masters, in addition to the training centers in the fields of technology. He added that the study is scheduled to start at EUI during the coming academic year.

Talaat pointed out that Creativa Innovation Hubs, established by MCIT within or near university campuses in the governorates, aim to provide training in all ICT sciences, in addition to providing programs to support technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Seven hubs have been operating experimentally until they are officially opened, and ten new governorates are targeted during the next year, including a hub in the Knowledge City in the New Administrative Capital, which includes all the factors of the information society from research and development laboratories, headquarters of international and national companies operating in the ICT sector, and training centers, in addition to the EUI.

Talaat and Abdel Ghaffar honored the winning teams, where the ICT Minister congratulated the winners. He praised the creative thought and active and productive team work of the students participating in the competition. He explained that the skills acquired by students participating in the competition are in line with the development witnessed by the labor market during the current stage in terms of advanced technical disciplines and the required personal skills, including creative thinking, the ability to solve problems, and teamwork.

On his part, Abdel Ghaffar said that AASTMT is a bright model for joint Arab action, and that Egypt embraced it and was credited with the support it provided. He explained that the ECPC reflects the success of the joint work model between AASTMT and MCIT. He pointed out that this year, the preparation and arbitration committee, consisting of seven judges from Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Germany and France, participated in the preparation of the competition problems.

Abdel Ghaffar added that the Academy has moved up in the ranks of major universities locally, regionally and internationally through its keenness to be a distinguished educational edifice in various disciplines, conforming to international standards in education, scientific research, innovation and training and fulfilling its societal responsibilities to remain the distinguished Arab house of expertise. This made it come up through the ranks in the World University Rankings and achieved a quantum leap in its ranking according to the World University Rankings.

The idea of the competition is based on developing students' abilities to use systematic solving methods and computer algorithms to solve industrial problems by writing a program to solve problems as best as they can in the least possible time. Each team consists of three students and a trainer.

In this competition, students work collectively to solve the largest number of problems in the least possible time, using one computer for each team during the competition period, which lasts for five continuous hours. Each team must try to solve as many problems as possible during the competition period. The teams’ codes are evaluated by entering specific confidential data prepared in advance by the judging committees, made up of experts in software and methods of systematic problem solving.

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