Egypt’s first-ever Weidong Smart Classroom is to empower country’s shift towards higher education innovation to achieve Education 2030 agendaMarch 10, 2020
On January 10, 2020, Hassan A Shehzad, CTO of IT and Enterprise Partnership Office, International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI), and Wu Yingzhi (伍应志), Overseas Project Manager of Smart Classroom, Weidong Cloud Education Group (Weidong) arrived in Cairo of Arab Republic of Egypt to deploy the country’s first-ever Smart Classroom (SCR) at Ain Shams University (ASU) and to conduct multiple rounds of technical trainings for technicians and operational trainings for teachers, besides meeting with university’s president, leaders and management teams from various faculties to discuss strengthening the cooperation between all entities during 2-week of project execution.
Founded in 1950, Ain Shams University provides education at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels. With more than 200,000 students, the university’s academic structure includes 14 faculties, 1 college and 2 high institutes plus 12 centers and special units.
Facilitated by UNESCO-ICHEI, supported by Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) and generously donated by Weidong, this is the first Weidong Smart Classroom facility in Egypt and in Africa, and the second SCR project implemented in the world after University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore, Pakistan, in July 2019.
In a very engaging and lively meeting with honorable Prof. Dr. Mahmoud El-Metini, President of Ain Shams University, with the presence of Prof. Dr. Abdel Fattah (Vice-President), Dr. El Banna and Dr. Sameh Ibrahim – hospitable and supportive team members from the university, a very prolific discussion and exchange of views occurred about current cooperation and future collaboration between ASU and UNESCO-ICHEI. . A souvenir was also presented to Prof. Dr. Mahmoud El-Metini on behalf of UNESCO-ICHEI, SUSTech and Weidong.
To official carrying out the deployment of Weidong SCR by assembling all the devices and setting up other vital components of project, a formal commencement was authorized by Dr. Diaa Khalil, Vice Dean for Postgraduate & Research Affairs. In presence of Dr. Diaa Khalil’s team, Hassan Shehzad discussed UNESCO-ICHEI’s work and intended functions of Smart Classroom facility on how to best utilize the potential of devices. Since Smart Classroom is under Faculty of Engineering’s supervision, Dr. Diaa Khalil showed keen interest to visit Weidong Smart Classroom facility during the set-up to experience the progress. A gift from UNESCO-ICHEI was also presented to Dr. Diaa Khalil on behalf of SUSTech, Weidong and UNESCO-ICHEI.
Regular but in-depth discussions were carried out with project team members, focal persons, professors, and admin and technical staff to converse about the potential of Smart Classroom facility. Everyone in those meeting assured to fully support the project with all resources.
The first batch of training was attended by 50+ participants, including the President of Ain Shams University Prof. Dr. Mahmoud El-Metini, Vice-President of the University Prof. Dr. Abdel Fattah, top leadership, university teachers and technical staff and admin personnel. Rigorous QnA, from participants besides President and Vice-President, related to Smart Classroom were exchanged and keenness regarding SCR functionalities, future usage of more components of technology in higher education, integration with existing computer facilities, campuses connectivity, enhancing the available model of devices, promoting trends of utilizing the potential of SCR among academics, capacity building of staff, future innovations in higher education, etc. was very obvious. ASU top leadership was very, very glad after listening to presentation revolving around ICHEI, SUSTech, SCR, IIOE and Shenzhen. Local media also covered the event extensively and words about this training were spread among campuses and general public.
Weidong Smart Classroom training week at Ain Shams University had 2 sessions each day i.e. from 9am till 12pm and from 1pm till 4pm. Total 8 batches were conducted. Teachers from faculties and school of medicine, engineering, computer science, education, woman, information, arts, etc. participated in all 8 training sessions. Participants were trained regarding the operation of the devices and technical training for technicians was about troubleshooting and configuration of all equipment.
On the last day of training, Dr. Waheeid Gharib, Dean of Egyptian Academy of Engineering and Advance Technology; affiliated to Ministry of Military Production, and Dr. Rasha, Manager is E-Learning Unit at Egyptian Academy of Engineering and Advance Technology; affiliated to Ministry of Military Production, also participated along with Dr. Diaa, Dean of Faculty of Engineering. The honorable guests were amazed to witness the potential of first-ever Smart Classroom facility in Egypt and restated to learn more from Chinese higher education experience, Shenzhen’s innovation as well as Chinese enterprises.
The coverage of Weidong Smart Classroom project, entire set-up of facility and trainings conducted, contribution of UNESCO-ICHEI and Weidong as well as SUSTech in Egypt’s higher education landscape through Ain Shams University, its relevance to Education 2030 and SDG4 with MOOCs and blended learning modalities can be seen from the pieces of various local newspapers as following:
After successfully completing the implementation and rigorous training sessions of Weidong Smart Classroom at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt, Hassan Shehzad (UNESCO-ICHEI) and Wu Yingzhi (Weidong) travelled to Djibouti on January 25th to commence the deployment of third Weidong Smart Classroom in the world facilitated by UNESCO-ICHEI, supported by SUSTech and donated by Weidong at the University of Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti.