There's a quiet revolution underway in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato-a digital revolution-and Cisco Networking Academy students from CONALEP Cortazar are at the center of it. With institutions located throughout the country, CONALEP (Colegio Nacional de Educación Profesional Técnica) is a key player in México's technical education infrastructure, and Cisco courses form an important part of the curriculum.
Academy students have already put their networking expertise to practical use in local schools in Guanajuato. Working closely with the community and the Educational Ministry, they have installed networks in three high schools: New Generation in Cortazar, Nat Tah Hi in Celaya, and Constitution of 1917 in Villagrán. Twelve additional networks have been designed and are ready to install. More than three thousand local students have benefited directly from this project.
The Cisco Networking Academy students appreciate the opportunity to apply their theoretical skills to real-world educational development in the community. "It is very important for me to be part of this family of knowledge," says Adán de Jesús Loera Martínez. "I have learned more than I thought I would, and I feel much more competent. When I am done with my studies, it will be easier for me to find a job, with a better salary than a technician." CONALEP Cortazar was one of the first institutions to take an active role in updating technology education in the community, leading to new curriculum models for high school students with an interest in connectivity and information systems.
Thanks to the new networks, high school students and teachers in Guanajuato can better leverage the resources that were already available to them. "The schools now use a media room called SEG," explains Dr. Fernando Gutiérrez, representative of Region V East of the Educational Ministry in Guanajuato. "These rooms are equipped with computers, a satellite receiver, and a video cassette recorder. The SEG has several multimedia titles, and through the network, these titles can be used in all the computers. Teachers can take advantage of this equipment to support their classes. Since the network was installed, they are really making the most of these resources."
Establishing a networking curriculum at CONALEP Cortazar was not easy. "We had many deficiencies, because we did not have sufficient material and our instructors lacked experience," recalls director Ing. Salvador González. "Providing the institution with the educational programs and lab experience required by information technology engineers was especially challenging."
By implementing a four-module Cisco Networking Academy Program, CONALEP Cortazar has greatly enhanced its knowledge and equipment base and can provide its graduates with a more comprehensive technical education. "Once the students have passed the four modules, they are ready to install networks anywhere," adds director González.
Cisco has long held that the Internet and education are two major catalysts for economic development. The Cisco Networking Academy Program in México is helping prepare future generations of networking engineers and-in collaboration with CONALEP Cortazar and the state government-is building a bridge that will carry the benefits of the digital age to communities throughout the country.
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