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Old 20.10.2006, 09:37   #1
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Lightbulb New IT Hub: Training center hopes to give Gyumri’s economy a high-tech boost

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Gyumri and nearby Vanadzor were once big industry centers of Armenia. But after the 1988 earthquake, the nearly 170 industries were destroyed or badly damaged and many of the 82,000 jobs lost in the Shirak and Lori earthquake regions.

Eighteen years after the earthquake Gyumri is still recovering from the devastation, where surviving scientific institutions and factories sometimes operate in temporary buildings.

GITC teachers like Hrach Makaryan are now brought in from Yerevan, the country’s current IT hub. He is optimistic about the school, saying it has a “great future.”

“Here students study different IT branches, which will enable them to solve different problems set before them,” Makaryan said. “In other words, this center prepares universal IT specialists, whose number is now small even in Yerevan.”

GITC’s curriculum includes software development, system engineering and project management, data processing, networking, system administration and Web technologies. The current class of students have already taken courses in algorithmic languages, Mathematics, computer architecture and programming languages.

Students also take English language classes.

Along with the overall aim of boosting technology knowledge and jobs, GITC addresses such objectives as building partnerships between the private and public sector, combining resources and knowledge, providing qualified teachers, introduction of advanced learning methodologies and promotion of information society development in the earthquake-hit regions.

The Fund for Armenian Relief, Enetrprise Incubator Foundation and Shirak Technologies LLC are helping to fund the center, with active involvement of individuals from Gyumri and partners from the United States.
Demirchyan said the cost of school will be about $100,000 in the first two years. Students who are now enrolled get a scholarship of 7,000 drams ($15) per month.

While classes are currently offered for free, admission is highly competitive. More than 65 people ages 22 to 52 years applied for the 20 spots.

Open 24-hours a day, every day of the week, the Gyumri IT Center's computer labs are equipped with the latest technology. With the cooperation of the Armenian Center of Scientific Technical Information, the center has arranged for student access to its library's resources and electronic databases for research and guidance.
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