Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
30 September 2021
ICT Minister Witnesses Signing Agreement to Offer M.Sc. in AI from POSTECH

The Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) and Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) via videoconference. The aim is to offer the Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) students a Master of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science.

The agreement aims to create a new partnership with POSTECH, which ranks highest in Asia and third among the world’s best universities with fewer than 5,000 students. Under the partnership, DEBI students will complete a one-year program of study leading to a Master of Engineering in AI and Data Science. The first Program cohort will begin with the Spring 2022 Semester. The syllabus covers Machine Learning (ML), applications, Virtual Reality (VR), data science, AI, and data mining.

The ICT Minister said that he values the Egyptian-Korean partnership, which supports the Egyptian efforts aimed at advancing technology and achieving scientific excellence. He also commended the cooperation with the top-notch scientific research institutions known for their excellence in AI. The cooperation is one in a series of partnerships concluded by DEBI to create an interdisciplinary program and exchange culture and technology with South Korea, he added.

Talaat underlined that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) is keen to invest in developing human capital and cooperate with world-class universities and educational institutions in line with its capacity-building strategy, implemented based on a pyramid-shaped approach to reach young people of different education levels and specializations. MCIT has doubled its capacity-building budget 22 fold over three years, said the ICT Minister, explaining that the objective of the strategy is to upskill 200,000 young people in the current fiscal year. Talaat added that DEBI represents the top of the pyramid; the initiative seeks to qualify young talents to become specialists in the latest ICT specializations through collaboration with globally renowned universities.

In addition, Talaat referred to Egypt Human Development Report 2021, published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report reviews and praises the country’s achievements in human development in ten years.

POSTECH was established in 1986 as the first research-oriented university in Korea. The University’s vision is to conduct pioneering research and development in science and engineering and nurtures future global leaders through outstanding education. In addition, POSTECH ranks 81st in QS World University Rankings. The University established partnerships with 140 institutions in 34 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the US.

The Egyptian Ambassador to Korea Hazem Fahmy commended the ICT Minister’s role in supporting DEBI, especially that it helps the country harness the power of AI and data science. Fahmy said that POSTECH ranks third among the world’s best universities with fewer than 5,000 students. He hoped that the new partnership would strengthen the Egyptian-Korean ties and result in mutual benefits in the AI field.

For his part, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Egypt Hong Jin-wook congratulated DEBI partners for establishing a partnership with POSTECH, one of the best Korean universities. He added that the University is the optimal partner for offering exceptional educational opportunities within DEBI. Jin-wook stressed the importance of building capacity through education and training, since capacity-building is key to prosperity and welfare. He commended the Egyptian capacity-building initiatives carried out under the auspices of the ICT Minister to support digital transformation and raise the Egyptians’ competitive edge in the global labor market. The Korean Ambassador said that the partnership will help DEBI graduates to find decent job opportunities in the business sector, including in the Korean companies operating in Egypt. He added that those graduates will play a substantial role in boosting the Egyptian economy.

ITIDA CEO Amr Mahfouz said he was pleased to sign the agreement with POSTECH to offer young Egyptians a Master of Engineering in AI and data science. He added that the Egyptian youth are the key driver of the sustainable growth of the Egyptian IT sector. Mahfouz pointed out that the agreement will stimulate cooperation between the business sector and academia to create an added value to the IT industry and a wider talent pool in different technology specializations.

Furthermore, the Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technological Talents Hoda Baraka stated that MCIT partnerships with international academic institutions and major technology companies aim to qualify young Egyptian talents in advanced technology specializations to help them raise their competitive edge in local and global labor markets. Baraka also said that DEBI now offers a professional master’s degree in two more majors, including fintech and digital arts, adding DEBI first cohort will graduate next March.

For his part, POSTECH President Moo Hwan Kim expressed his appreciation for choosing his University as a partner to DEBI and praised the Egyptian government's vision to launch such ambitious initiative amid the pandemic. Kim said that the program helped break down barriers; the partnership was the reason POSTECH launched its virtual campus, with DEBI students becoming the first to obtain an online master's degree without visiting Korea, which per se represents a milestone for the two sides.

The agreements was signed by Mahfouz, Kim, and Dean of Graduate School of AI (GSAI) Young-Joo Suh. The virtual signing ceremony was attended by the Advisor to the ICT Minister for Technology Innovation, Electronics Industry and Training Hossam Osman; Head of the Applied Innovation Center (AIC) Ahmed Tantawy; and senior officials from MCIT and POSTECH.

Launched by MCIT, DEBI is a scholarship that targets top Egyptian graduates at the Faculty of Engineering; Computers and Information; Sciences (Departments of Mathematics – Computers or Statistics); Applied Arts; Fine Arts; Economics and Business Administration; or Urban Planning, in different governorates. DEBI participants are selected following specific admission criteria.

DEBI is carried out based on four main pillars. The first is the technical aspect, which involves offering students a professional master’s degree in one of the following disciplines: data science and AI; cybersecurity; robotics and automation; digital architecture; digital arts, or fintech, bestowed from prestigious international universities. The second pillars targets building the soft skills that support the technical aspect, including leadership, communication, presentation and public speaking. This pillar also includes introducing the students to business concepts and key business functions. DEBI third pillar is concerned with improving the students’ English language skills, while the fourth is provide them hands-on training to gain experience.

The Initiative is implemented in collaboration with major international universities specializing in advanced technology domains and local and multinational companies specializing in ICT, leadership and language skills development.

For more info on DEBI, kindly call 15388, or visit this website.

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