Monday,22 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)
Monday,22 April, 2019
Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Knowledge Bank launched

President Al-Sisi has announced the launch of the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, reports Reem Leila

Al-Ahram Weekly

While addressing youths at the Opera House to celebrate Egyptian Youth Day on 9 January, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi announced the inauguration of the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (EKB).

The bank is part of an initiative called “Toward an Egyptian community that learns, thinks, and innovates” announced by the president in December 2014. Within an hour of the president’s declaration, more than two million people had visited the bank’s website, according to Alaa Youssef, the official presidential spokesman.

EKB, an online platform for publishers, is considered the first of its kind, and provides access to the largest digital library in the world. “The project will have a significant role in developing the scientific research system in Egypt by providing information to researchers and scholars,” the president said in his address to the youths.

The most important role of technology is to spread knowledge and contribute to development, Al-Sisi said, but warned against using it to promote false information or to support terrorism and terrorist groups.

During the meeting, Al-Sisi stressed the importance of education as one of the vital ways to achieve progress, noting that the results of development appear in the medium- and long-terms.

Tarek Shawki, head of a specialised council responsible for EKB, said EKB is considered the biggest digital library in the world. “It includes the publications of the world’s largest publishing houses and will be available on the Internet,” Shawki said.

The publishing houses include Springer Nature, National Geographic, Discovery, Elsevier, Cambridge, Oxford, Encyclopedia Britannica and Reuters, among others. “The library will cover all areas of knowledge and educational curricula,” Shawki said.

The Education and Scientific Research Council signed agreements with 26 international publishing houses to be part of EKB. “The council intends to sign other agreements with further international and Arabic publishing houses in order to enrich the knowledge bank,” Shawki said.

According to Shawki, the bank has been activated on the Internet and will be accessible through all online devices from 23 January. “Final touches are being made on the bank’s website so that any user can log on to and search freely for any information or research he or she needs.”

Shawki believes that publishers are equally invested in the success of the programme, as they too understand the importance of shared knowledge in the global community. “We are all dedicated to providing people with new opportunities to learn and explore,” he said.

Information and knowledge in all fields will be available for free to all age groups as well as different categories of users, ranging from school students to scientific researchers.

Official presidential spokesman Alaa Youssef said that EKB contains scientific courses in all fields of information, including electronic books and magazines, educational syllabi for schools and universities, databases, browsers, digital libraries for videos and pictures along with computer programmes in sports and more.

“EKB is designed in a way that all parts of society, with various specialisations and interests and ages, can benefit from to develop scientific research for researchers, human knowledge for youth, promote teaching methods for teachers and develop ways to attract students to learn,” said Youssef. He added that EKB is Egypt’s “spring on the path of progress and global competition in the age of science and information.”

Russell Stephens, director of collections at the AUC Library, agreed, explaining that the knowledge bank offers Egyptians the opportunity to help lead the country in these initiatives.

Stephens underscored the university’s commitment to the programme and its mission, saying, “We at AUC Libraries look forward to working with EKB officials on this exciting initiative, specifically regarding the development of a platform that will provide electronic resources for the entire country.”

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