The Palestinian Academic Network
The Palestinain Council for Higher Education
P.O.Box 17360 E.Jerusalem, Palestine
Palestine is very actively seeking to join the global developments in information
technology. This field is exceptionally important to Palestinians at this
point of history as they are in the process of building a nation. Quick
access to accurate information, resources and communications have a major
impact on this building process. Equally important is the impact of information
technology and networking on sustainable development, openness and global
human communications. These elements play a key role in breaking barriers
between peoples and in promoting peace
The Academic sector is a key component in the development of the Palestinian
information highway. The academic sector is closely linked to governmental
institutions, commerce, industry, NGOs, etc. In addition, Palestinian universities
are evenly distributed geographically over the territory. An Academic network
backbone may be used by other sectors as a national backbone, at least in
the initial stages. Furthermore, almost all universities offer continuing
education programs An academic institution with established networking facilities
is the natural training ground for transferring information technology knowledge
from the academic sector into the community.
The Palestinian Academic Network in Palestine is one of the first attempts
to develop electronic networking in Palestine. Although networking technology
has advanced and developed rapidly, Palestinians still find themselves struggling
with obstacles of connectivity and technology that have been imposed on
them throughout the years.
Educators and researchers in Palestine are now realizing these facts and
have actively begun to develop their own networks and advance the use of
information technologies. It is within this spirit that the Academic Network
of Palestine has been launched under the auspices of the Palestinian Council
of Higher Education.
In order to succeed, the Academic Network will promote cooperation among
academic institutions. Although the emphasis of cooperation will be placed
on Palestinian academic sector in the initial stages, the Academic Network
is well aware that the need for information goes beyond geographical and
political boundaries. The network will very strongly promote regional and
The following project document describes the activities needed for the operational
establishment and the development of the Palestinian Academic Network.
The Palestinian academic sector recognizes the need for networking facilities
within Palestine and with the outside world. The sector faces obstacles
ranging from lack connectivity and a shortage of technical skills and resources.
This proposal seeks to resolve these obstacles through acquiring the necessary
infrastructure, building the information content and developing the human
resources necessary to maintain and develop the network
Palestinian academic and research institutions have been struggling during
the past few years to develop information technology and networking facilities.
However, they have been faced with many obstacles that hindered healthy
development in this field. The current networking status is almost strictly
limited to electronic mil with access ranging from a few users at most sites
to a whole university at some sites. There is very limited World Wide Web
and direct Internet access. This is usually available at an individual level
through long distance dial up connections.
The major problems that we face today in the Palestinian Authority (PA)
areas are summarized by the following:
The lack of connectivity and Internet access is a major obstacle in the
development of information technology.
- Intra-City Connectivity: The infrastructure that was inherited from
the Israeli occupation did not support data network connectivity within
- Inter-City Connectivity: All inter-city connections are under Israeli
control, and data connections are being denied by Israel.
- Internet connectivity: Internet access through Israeli telephone networks
is being denied by Israel on politic grounds.
A general shortage of technical skills exists in the field of networking
and information technology in Palestine.
A severe shortage in human and financial resources exists at academic and
research institutions in Palestine. This limits the acquisition of necessary
equipment t develop a networking infrastructure at the institutional level,
and /or the allocation of human resources necessary to maintain or develop
The lack of networking has greatly limited broader regional cooperation.
Palestinians realize that information technology and networking are amongst
the most powerful tools in promoting development, openness and understanding
between peoples; issues important to this region. The Palestinian Academic
Network's goal will be geared towards this end.
The Objectives of the proposed project are:
- Develop the basic infrastructure and info-structure necessary to establish
and support the Palestinian Academic Network in cooperation with technically
advanced countries in the region.
- Develop on-going training programs aimed at developing skills necessary
to run and develop the network also through joint programs with regional
- Promote cooperation and information exchange within Palestinian academic
and research institutions.
- Promote cooperation and information exchange within the region.
- Share resources and expertise
There are two distinct and complementary functions that need to be identified
and separated in developing the Academic Network and they are:
Both the infrastructure and the infostructure will be developed simultaneously
and in stage. In the first stages, the infrastructure at higher educational
institutions will be upgraded to support local sand wide area networking.
At the same time training activities will commence to upgrade the skills
for personnel that will run and administer the networks and develop the
information on the network. Both activities will be carried out in cooperation
with Mediterranean partners. During these initial stages, an Academic networking
Center will be established and one of two universities with advanced facilities
and easier connectivity options will be used as pilot projects for full
connectivity. During later stages, connectivity for the rest of the Palestinian
higher education institutions and research centers will be achieved.
- Infrastructure: the media through which the information and communication
exchange takes place.
- Info-structure: the information content and human networking. The
reason for having the network
- Human Networking: Communications and interaction between users on
local, regional and global levels.
High schools will be next target of the academic network. Universities will
assume the role of a service provider for the academic sector, each university
in its region. Universities will provide connectivity, training and offer
assistance to regional high schools and any other educational institutions.
Training constitutes an essential component of this project. Training will
be associated with the different stages of the project, and will target
three major groups:
1. System Administrators: Individuals that will install, manage and develop
This is normally a highly specialized training and relies heavily on partnership
programs with regional academic institutions that have acquired the expertise
in the field. This type of training will have to be an on-going process
to keep up with the rapid advances in the technology.
2. Information Technologists: Personnel that will feed the network with
information. Information is especially important to academic institutions
and researcher, yielding a relatively large target group. Nonetheless, this
group is specialized. Therefore, this project will seek regional partners
in training and exchange programs.
3. End Users: Personnel that will use the services of the network and use
it for information exchange and human networking. This type of training
will be mostly carried out through institutional in-house training.
Training of trainers will be one of the major objectives of this project
to ensure continuity and development.