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Cisco and the E-Learning Competence Center turn to Accenture to develop learning curriculum in support of Egypt’s ground-breaking educational reform.
In Egypt, education has been placed near the top of the government’s agenda as a driving force for economic growth and global competitiveness. As with many developing nations, Egypt faces a monumental challenge in delivering quality education to its citizens. The key constraints are the absence of a collaborative and coordinated approach to education among the private and public sectors as well as limited resources.
A new willingness on the part of political leaders, educators, policy makers and the public to consider innovative approaches has resulted in a new wave of reforms that is expected to dramatically impact Egypt’s economic growth and prosperity.
To support this reform effort, the Egyptian Education Initiative (EEI) was created. This initiative is a partnership between the Egyptian government and the World Economic Forum and aims to maximize the potential for collaborative public-private partnerships to achieve educational goals. The EEI’s primary objectives are to improve the development and delivery of education for Egypt’s citizens through the use of IT and advanced technologies, and assist the Egyptian government in achieving its vision of education as a driver for social and economic development. The EEI initiative is centered on five focus areas, or “tracks”: pre-university education; lifelong learning; higher education; Egypt’s e-learning industry development; and regional e-learning development.
Cisco, a global IT partner of the Egyptian Education Initiative and a worldwide leader in networking systems, is partnering with Egypt’s E-Learning Competence Center to drive the EEI’s lifelong learning track. The government established the E-Learning Competence Center (ELCC) to accelerate Egypt’s economic growth by enhancing workforce performance through high-quality, state-of-the-art e-learning solutions.
A key component of the lifelong learning track is the Business Essentials course, a blended curriculum developed by Cisco and piloted in English in Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Poland. This 52-hour curriculum consisting of Web-based and instructor-led training is designed to help the small and midsize business owner who represents 90 percent of all businesses in Egypt. The course focuses on how these businesses can leverage the Internet and other advanced technologies to be more competitive and innovative in their business strategies.
To launch this course in Egypt, Cisco and the ELCC determined that the curriculum needed to go through a series of enhancements, including localization of the content to make it more relevant to the Egyptian audience. Specifically, Cisco and the ELCC wanted to translate the course into Arabic, make the course more interactive and incorporate local case studies into the curriculum.
Cisco and the ELCC turned to Accenture Development Partnerships as its partner in this initiative. Accenture Development Partnerships is a not-for-profit group within Accenture that provides high-quality consulting services to donors, nongovernmental organizations and other nonprofit entities working in developing countries. To provide expert program management to the e-learning initiative, Accenture Development Partnerships leveraged the capabilities of Accenture Learning BPO Services, a service offering within Accenture that provides learning outsourcing solutions to clients globally. Accenture’s learning BPO professionals brought to the project our deep knowledge and expertise in e-learning, as well as proven execution capabilities that have helped clients around the world to achieve high performance.
Accenture teamed with the ELCC and Cisco on a six-month project to manage the development and rollout of the Business Essentials curriculum in Egypt—including content design and development; course localization and translation; pilot and rollout; and knowledge transfer of e-learning skills to the ELCC. The project comprised five key stages of work along with overall program management by Accenture:
Accenture managed a team of ELCC content developers to enhance and localize the Business Essentials course for the Egyptian audience. A local translation company was engaged to translate the course into Arabic. Local subject matter experts were leveraged to develop case studies focused on small to midsize businesses in Egypt, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. A local, narrative back story was developed and weaved throughout the curriculum to make the content more relevant to the Egyptian audience. Enhancements to the curriculum included a new content flow to enhance comprehension and more interactivity throughout the course. Additionally, the facilitator guide and student workbook were enhanced and better aligned to the course to help facilitate instructor delivery.
To help the ELCC manage future e-learning projects of this scope, Accenture worked with the ELCC team to transfer knowledge and skills—including Accenture’s program management process and methodologies, and templates used in e-learning development and deployment. Additionally, Accenture managed the procurement, testing and implementation of both a new learning management system and a courseware authoring tool for the ELCC that would enable content development in Arabic. This new learning infrastructure provides a critical platform for the ELCC to develop and deliver e-learning programs in support of Egypt’s education reform efforts.
Through the teamwork between Accenture, Cisco and the ELCC, the Business Essentials course was successfully launched as part of the Egyptian Education Initiative. The new course—localized and translated into Arabic, and enhanced to improve interactivity and comprehension–was developed and delivered in six months, a much shorter time frame than originally anticipated by key stakeholders. The pilot, which included a group of small and midsize business owners and educators in Egypt, was completed in May 2007 and feedback has been outstanding. According to one participant: “I had planned to only attend the first couple of sessions, but after seeing how much this course could improve my business, I attended all of the sessions.”
The Business Essentials curriculum has been released for full rollout and ultimately will be available at more than 1,000 IT centers throughout Egypt. The curriculum is expected to reach an audience of more than 10,000 people in the next three years. Additionally, the new learning management system and courseware authoring tool has been successfully implemented at the ELCC, positioning the center to more effectively deliver e-learning programs in the future.
In addition to the swift and successful delivery of the Business Essentials course, the Accenture team worked closely with the ELCC to ensure knowledge transfer relating to all aspects of e-learning development and delivery. According to Yasser Kazem, director of the ELCC, “Accenture placed a strong emphasis on transferring their knowledge and skills in e-learning project delivery to the ELCC staff. This has been a tremendous benefit—our team is now prepared to manage e-learning initiatives of this scope in the future. This skills transfer will have a huge impact on our ability to drive the educational reforms of the Egyptian government.”
And from Caspar Herzberg, operations director at Cisco: “Accenture did an extraordinary job with this project. Their expertise in e-learning, their program management capabilities and speed to deliver, as well as their ability to successfully bridge cultures and create training that is relevant to an Egyptian audience—all were critical to the success of this project. Accenture has made an outstanding contribution to this project and to the success of the Egyptian Education Initiative as a whole.”
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