Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Telecommunications and Information Technology and the Palestinian Telecommunications Company launch the Palestinian Academic Research Network via fiber optic network

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Ramallah - Ministries of Education and Higher Education and Telecommunications and Information Technology, in cooperation with the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, announced yesterday the launch of the Palestinian Academic Research Network during a ceremony at Movenpick Hotel in Ramallah and Roots Hotel in Gaza with the attendance of Lamis Al Alami; Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Mashhour Abu Daqqa; Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, Mr. Ammar Aker; PALTEL Group CEO, Mr. Abdul Majeed Melhem; PALTEL General Manager, as well as a number of university presidents, deans of scientific research and directors of information systems at universities, prominent figures and media professionals in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Al Alami; Minister of Education and Higher Education said that the academic network would help support scientific research and communication between universities home and abroad, pointing out that the academic network is a national network of information aiming at developing and upgrading services for information exchange and access amongst different Palestinian universities and colleges by providing them with all the necessary elements of higher education and scientific research, in addition to a set of tools and technologies to help them meet their IT needs. 


Al Alami commended all the bodies that have contributed to the development of the network and thanked PALTEL on its constant support to the educational sector; an important pillar in Palestine.


Mr. Abu Daqqa; Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology confirmed that the ministry gave universities the freedom to manage the project and coordinate matters for the success of the network. It also supervised the project in order to meet at the desired goal. He praised PALTEL, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Palestinian universities and all other parties involved.


Mr. Abu Daqqa also assured the importance of benefiting from this project and achieving the greatest possible degree of coordination amongst universities to build up a stock of knowledge in all universities through the technological revolution. He also emphasized the need to establish an independent and public communication network capable of competing within an atmosphere of true partnership and which emphasizes the importance of working towards the sustainability of this vital project.


“Government support should not be open-ended, but should be present for a specific time to trigger universities to start working to achieve electronic connectivity. This step is like throwing the ball in the court of universities in order to encourage them to achieve this electronic connectivity, especially after signing the agreement with Euro-Mediterranean Academic and Research Networking that has been able to provide universities with a wide range broadband,” said Mr. Abu Daqqa. 


Mr. Al Aker, PALTEL Group CEO, said, “The education sector is one of the most important sectors that influence the building of an educated and healthy society, because the educational establishment is affected by its surroundings and is responsible for shaping individuals and generations. We must be one of these positive effects, and that is why PALTEL prioritizes the education sector by implementing projects exhibiting social responsibility”.


Mr. Al Aker added that “The development of our research and scientific network and linking universities together through this network will facilitate access to any information needed by researchers and students, which in turn will facilitate research and studies by allowing them access to all related subjects. They will benefit from the expertise of all academic universities and scientific establishments that will produce tomorrow’s generations. The partnership between the public sector and the private sector is very crucial. We cooperate with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, both of which are main engines for the development of education and technology in Palestine, through sponsoring quality projects that positively impact the development of capacities of the promising youth. Through this Academic Network, universities can gain access to major services provided by PALTEL such as internet and temporal networking with local and international parties, since the network’s main router is hosted by PALTEL,”.


Mr. Al Aker pointed out that other Ministries would benefit from the network, such as the Ministry of Health, which will be able to have access to international medical institutions, hospitals and medical research centers by connecting to Euro-Mediterranean Academic and Research Networking. The ministry of Agriculture and other ministries could also benefit from the project.


“PALTEL has invested $32m in its ground network, which will enable us to expand our services and extend it to reach every household, especially in marginalized and isolated areas that enjoy much of our attention. We want to help people in these areas to break the isolation imposed by the occupation. We will also continue to reach to other parts in the country and beyond. We are committed to our promise that each Palestinian household will benefit from our broadband services, and are also committed to our contribution to spread this culture in order to bridge the digital gap. We are aware of the rapid growth in applications and uses of the Internet and modern services,” Mr. Al Aker concluded.


Mr. Abdul Majeed Melhem, PALTEL General Manager, said, “Today we launch a  breakthrough technology that serves higher education, researchers and academics in Palestine, and links our universities with each other and with international universities and educational institutes. The network embodies fruitful, national cooperation and effort between the public and private sectors. The company will utilize its network to spread knowledge and science, and will always strive to develop and upgrade the network in order to cope with the technological developments in the world today. PALTEL continues to invest in its network and will deploy international expertise to develop the academic research network.”

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