Third Information Technology Conference in Higher Education held at Birzeit University

The first day saw a review of curricula, staff issues, infrastructure, resources, and students. Several successful global models were compared including a speech from Lee Schlenker, University of Grenoble Graduate Business School in France.

The second day looked at the general use of IT in education and what is needed to link universities and the IT programs to the IT industry and the private sector. Conference attendees agreed that it was useful to share the needs of the IT sector and the skills needed by the private sector with those working in higher education. Marwan Totah, from BISAN systems in Ramallah, stressed in his presentation what he saw as two major problems with IT graduates; firstly, a lack of critical thinking and problem-solving skills which he felt were more important than specific programming skills and, secondly, the importance of better English language skills for communication.

The final session on planning and future vision saw representatives from PECDAR, the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Planning, and Ministry of Labor present their plans, vision, strategies, policies, and actions with regard to upgrading the level of IT in Palestinian Universities. Several conference attendees expressed dissatisfaction that these speakers did not address the problems that had been raised during the duration of the conference.

Marwan Tarazi, Director of the Birzeit University Computer Centre, told Birzeit News, "The conference achieved its objectives in highlighting the problems of the IT sector and identifying specific issues. It remains to be seen whether the policy and decision makers on a national and university level will address these issues in the coming period."