Cisco Blogs

IT Training Moving Onto National Curricula

June 1, 2010 - 7 Comments

If technology is Cisco’s profession, then education might well be its passion. From helping set up learning schemes in Indian forests to equipping IT classrooms in African slums, it is hard to think of a non-educational organization that puts so much effort into imparting new skills around the world.

Reflecting a strong personal interest of CEO John Chambers, (oft quoted as saying “I truly believe there are two equalizers in life: the Internet and education”), much of this effort is channeled through the Cisco Networking Academy, which itself is testimony to Cisco’s yen for teaching.

Since 1997 the Networking Academy has grown from a small-scale corporate social responsibility initiative to an educational behemoth operating in 9,000 centers across 165 countries and teaching IT skills to more than 800,000 students a year.

That is more people than the entire populations of Iceland, Barbados, Grenada and the United States Virgin Islands put together. If concentrated on one campus, the annual enrolment would make the Networking Academy equal to one of the five largest universities in the world. 

And having operated an educational scheme for this length of time and on this scale means the Networking Academy is now increasingly of interest to policy makers grappling with the challenge of how to equip the next generation with IT skills to ensure a competitive workforce in the future.

That is why a growing number of nations are taking the unusual step of integrating Networking Academy training into their national curricula. Such initiatives are perhaps most evident in emerging regions such as the Middle East and North Africa.

But as fellow correspondent Mike Stone and I write in a feature now posted on News@Cisco, even Europe sees a potential role for the Networking Academy in providing IT skills and improving regional competitiveness.

Countries such as Germany, Romania, Turkey and the Czech Republic are experimenting with integrating Networking Academy teaching into school and college curricula. The end game is more highly skilled populations coupled with greater employability and job creation.

Through involvement in organizations such as the European e-Skills Association, Cisco is not just providing curriculum support but also contributing to the debate on IT skills provision.

It is an important task. It does not take a university degree to work out that IT skills are only going to become more critical in the years to come.

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  1. Cisco is offering great services. Even my university is setting up Cisco boosters and wi-fi setup. Great facility for students

  2. Wow 800000 people per years..?

  3. Jason, what's the next step ? what cisco planing to do ?

  4. Cisco is helping education systems to prepare students as skilled proffesionals

  5. wow, 800,000 students a year, huh? That's very impressive. It's nice to hear that they value education.

  6. An educational system that serves 800000 people per year is quite a big enterprise, nice to know that all started from a small initiative.

  7. Jason, you are right that Cisco is increasingly looked to by governments as a trusted advisor in education, and the Networking Academy is becoming a key component in many nations' efforts to ramp up 21st century skills. However the programme may be more of a behemoth than you think. There are, in fact, more than 900,000 students and in excess of 9,500 academies currently enrolled.