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 Academy Students Wire 40,000+ Schools in Argentina
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Academy Students Wire 40,000+ Schools in Argentina

Cisco Systems, Inc., signed an agreement with the Minister of Education and the Chairman of the Board of EDUC.AR (the first state-owned Internet company in Argentina) in September 2000. The Agreement will allow 3,200 Cisco Networking Academy students design the networks of more than 40,000 schools in Argentina over a 24-month period. The 60 instructors and 3,200 students will start work as soon as the information is distributed by the Ministry of Education of Argentina. The agreement will help improve high-tech qualifications and provide better opportunities for teachers and students in the country.

The Cisco Networking Academy Program, a 560-hour, eight semester curriculum teaches students how to design, build and maintain computer networks. The program started in Argentina in March 1999, but in spite of its short life, the program has been growing rapidly. The Regional Academy, which is responsible for recruiting up to ten Local Academies, took special care to expand its Local Academy activities not only in Buenos Aires, but throughout Argentina.

This agreement is the first of a series of business agreements with other high-tech companies. The Cisco agreement is a necessary first step, in order to establish the network reference architecture for future educational programs, based on partnerships with other high-tech organizations.

"This project, given its magnitude and scope requires logistics that commit human, technical and institutional resources of the highest level," said Jorge Mantovani, general manager of EDUC.AR. It is estimated the Argentina government will save $25 million, equivalent to the costs of surveying and designing the networks for all 40,000+ schools. Without Academy student involvement, the national authorities would have called for international bids, with the consequential administrative and financial costs implied.

"The program also guarantees human resources that are qualified in these technologies, and who will contribute to future maintenance, support and quality of the networks (in Argentina)," Jorge continued.

The Academy students participating in this project are primarily fourth semester Academy students from University and other higher educational institutions within Argentina. According to Javier Nunez, Cisco Systems South America COO, "Cisco's education model will allow students in each country work-related experience after designing the networks in schools in their own country."

EDUC.AR is the first state-owned Internet company that will provide users with access to electronic resources in education and education-related subjects. EDUC.AR is an ambitious project developed by the Argentina government, will focus on national content and will be used as a tools at all levels of the education system. In this way, Cisco will be the building block for access to electronic networks.

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