Since October 2007, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT) has been pumping new blood into its leading figures, making use of its experienced staff and planning for its future so as to preserve the gains it has achieved and its status at all levels, local, Arab and international, to keep up with the modern changes and to achieve excellence in the studies and research of maritime transport, engineering and management in order to prepare qualified calibres capable of catering for the Arab society demands of development in the twenty-first century.
This trend is due to the developmental and environmental challenges the Arab countries face as these challenges require integrated measures at both national and regional levels. Besides, there is a need for reinforcing the joint Arab work and providing assistance through programs, projects and technical support to foster the local and regional activities, a major element for realizing sustainable development in the Arab countries. In this context, His Excellency, Amr Moussa, the Arab League Secretary General, gives directives towards restructuring, developing and modernizing the AASTMT to make it capable of helping the Arab countries achieve their national aims in light of the AASTMT’s objectives stated it its establishment agreement.
In this context, the AASTMT’s role is brought about as one of the effective tools and one of the Arab league specialized organizations to provide its services to the Arab countries to help them achieve their national aims by means of providing assistance in implementing international agreements and conventions (maritime transport – climate change ... etc.) including helping the Arab countries – upon request – in their negotiations concerning new international agreements and conventions.
In addition, the AASTMT is promoting the Arab countries capability building by enhancing the development of administrative skills in areas that serve development issues and transferring and localizing advanced technology, whenever possible, in favour of the largest sector of specialized personnel in the Arab countries. Moreover, the AASTMT provides its educational, training and research services in the management and engineering fields as it transfers the most updated educational systems to the Arab region, those systems applied in the outstanding universities all over the world. Besides, the AASTMT renders these services to fulfill the development demands of the Arab countries that have no higher education services or lack some vital specializations in the fields of management and engineering.
Furthermore, there is the maritime transport – that is deemed the AASTMT’s major activity – as one of the tasks carried out by the AASTMT through qualifying and training those working in the Arab maritime transport sector as well as areas related to maritime safety, maritime environment protection and promoting maritime and river navigation in the Arab region. In this regard, the AASTMT provides its services to the Arab countries as a “Regional Centre for d and Modern Maritime Training”, grants a multiplicity of maritime certificates, transfers and provides advanced technology (whenever possible), enhances and upgrades maritime safety levels and navigators’ efficiency as well as eliminates and controls marine pollution.
In order for the AASTMT to carry out this role fully, it implements an internal restructuring plan to upgrade its technical and institutional capabilities and it builds upon the basis of its current experts, to be able it to cater for the requirements of the Arab countries. An integral part of restructuring is developing the AASTMT’s support services through reforming and renewing the financial and administrative affairs and its subordinate units in order to facilitate the organization activities in an efficient and transparent way.
In light of the AASTMT’s adoption of “putting vision into action” strategy, it has already begun the actual implementation of a number of procedures and activities within the framework of forging an advanced strategy for the AASTMT, one that helps it provide technical support and build member countries capabilities. The four axes of the AASTMT’s strategy for the coming four years have been defined taking into consideration that they may be extended for another four years as follows:
A cooperation agreement has been concluded between the United Nations Secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), located in Geneva and represented by Mr. Selvano Bersinio and the AASTMT leading to the following:
(attached is the UN Secretary General’s report to the General Assembly to appraise the role played by the AASTMT).
An agreement with His Excellency, Engineer Mohamed Lotfi Mansour, ARE Minister of Transportation has been concluded concerning running, operating and developing Werdan Railway Training Institute. This site is 58 km north-west Cairo on the desert road opposite to the European Countryside Resort. Its area is 170 acres, fully equipped with utilities and services. It was previously established by the UNESCO in 1968.
The AASTMT has signed a consultations contract with the Egyptian Railway Authority according to which a book of terms was prepared concerning the site rehabilitation process with an estimated cost of 155 million dollars of the Railway Authority budget. The operation was assigned by means of a direct order to Wadi El-Nil for Investment and Contracting Company. It will last for 18 months after which the AASTMT will exploit the site by all the activities it was originally established for.
On the fringe of directing, operating and developing Werdan Railway Institute project, the AASTMT has requested the extension of the Integrated Simulators Complex project for a fourth stage representing technology transfer to the Railway Sector with an approximate total cost amounting to 100 million dollars from the USAID. 58 million dollars have already been allocated to a first part and the supply of devices, equipment and simulators will begin within a month.
The AASTMT has carried out a study aiming at developing the river-transport system for the River Transport Authority of the Ministry of Transport including developing navigation course and river ports, proposing the operation of the river units and river transport managing systems and logistics, in addition to river education and training. The AASTMT, as an Arab Consultation Organization, has sought the help of a number of experts and specialists – along with its specialists – to put this study, which has been handed over to the River Transport Authority, into action. The AASTMT has also prepared paper and digital maps for the River Nile navigation course from Cairo to Aswan and has established the first simulator for the River Nile and has installed it at the River Transport Institute in Maadi.
On the fringe of studying the development of the river transport system in the ARE, there is preparation for signing an agreement between the AASTMT and the River Transport Authority to run, develop and operate the River Transport Institute under the AASTMT umbrella. There will be an announcement for the first batch of Thanaweya Amma holders as well as those graduated from preparatory and industrial secondary schools to enroll for studying at the River Transport Institute for preparing nautical and river engineering officers as well as technical vocational workers aboard river units.
In light of the significant shortage in marine workers all over the world, the maritime education and training process has been re-evaluated so as to be in line with the requirements of the labour market aboard ships that cross the world seas. Within this context, some curricula as well as the training core have been formed anew by means of multimedia. Moreover, there has been an agreement with Toshiba Co. to give a special offer to the Maritime Transport College students to get a tablet PC designed for the educational process. There has also been a full plan to finish providing the Maritime Transport and Technology College with the Wi-Fi technology along with using a computer main server into which all educational subjects will be input as of the next academic term so that students can get the educational and training content of all subjects any time during the day via a password. Furthermore, a plan has been devised to focus on the English language, practical training, field visits along with discipline and sports activities.
In light of the development witnessed by the City of Port Said, particularly after the establishment of the eastern Port Said port that has attracted many investments to the region, and with regard to the fact that the AASTMT is devising the detailed plan for the second and third stages of this significant port for the Danish Company, the port usufructuary and for the Egyptian government, in addition to the expected 250,000 job opportunities in the maritime field upon completion of the aforementioned stages, the AASTMT approached the Port Said Governorate to get a location for its proposed branch. The Governorate has issued a decree to allocate 77 acres in the city of Port Fouad for the AASTMT new campus. The AASTMT executive council agreed upon the experimental operation of the branch in September 2009, provided that the General Assembly scheduled to meet at the same time be informed.
Currently there is planning to change the education methodology at all the AASTMT colleges following the example of the College of Maritime Transport. Development of the College of Management and Technology actually started nearly a year ago making use of a (Main Server) of computers to which all educational subjects have been inputted to be available to the students all the time. This development process aims at changing the patterning and roles of the educational process sides as follows:
It is expected that this change would finally lead to fulfilling the Arab society needs by preparing creative calibres through adopting the scientific thinking methodology that enables them to make the decisions based on logic and science.
A partnership agreement has been concluded with Microsoft aiming at establishing an electronic work environment at the AASTMT starting with implementing work plans facilitating the services and activities there by integrating administrative and financial activities and linking them to education plans and courses. This is to be followed by implementing these plans through integrated programming linking all the AASTMT activities in an integrated network. Early in 2009, the first stage concerning work plans will be completed. The system infrastructure of networks and equipment has already been done.
An Integrated Services Centre for the AASTMT students, employees and their families has been established as about $ 10 are annually cut from all employees except workmen, technicians, and support staff to finance this centre. It is located in the AASTMT campus in Abu Kir, Alexandria, where it provides all the real estate registration services, issuing national number IDs, birth certificates, traffic services including examination, issuing car licenses and driving permits. These services have also been added to the AASTMT graduates by the Graduates League.
The Department of Programmes Development has been established within the AASTMT organizational structure and the youngest ever known director (only 23 years old) in its history has been appointed, as he is one of the most creative youth working in the field of private business since he was a student at the AASTMT. He supervises a number of programmes which are considered incubators for students’ projects to enable them run their own private business and not to wait for being appointed at any of the institutions or organizations after graduation. The administration has invented the title “Festival” for students’ small projects representing some restaurants and fast food restaurants inside or outside the AASTMT. Currently, some major institutions are being attracted to sponsor these incubators.
In light of the Arab League’s Secretary-General’s directives as regards supporting the Republic of Comoros, the AASTMT has sent a group of experts in the fields of engineering, management and maritime transport for ten days to explore the possibility of carrying out a comprehensive investment scheme in favour of the Republic of Comoros. Based on the report submitted by the group, a number of meetings, in the form of workshops, have been held in order to come up with the proposed format of the comprehensive development plan. The idea has been conveyed to the President by the ambassador of The Republic of Comoros in Cairo, followed by the Foreign Minister’s visit to the AASTMT.
After the Director-General’s meeting with The Republic of Comoros’ Minster of Power and as a beginning for implementing the scheme, the AST&MT has sent two engineers and experts from 22 to 30 September 2008 to study fixing and maintaining electrical generators in the Republic of Comoros and deciding upon the requirements to prepare the technicians needed for future operation and maintenance as well as the required spare parts. There has also been an agreement with the Minister of Power to the effect that the AASTMT sends two power experts to work as the Minister of Energy consultants, provided that the AASTMT pays their salaries until preparing the necessary calibres to keep generating and developing power.
This has led to the Director-General’s visit to The Republic of Comoros accompanied by a delegation of specialists to meet the concerned ministers and His Excellency, the President. The AASTMT has received a letter from His Excellency, the President, indicating that the AASTMT is the main consultant for all development projects at the Republic of Comoros. The AASTMT will organize a conference in collaboration with concerned organizations at the Arab League and the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to create a fund from donor countries and organizations to foster development in the Republic of Comoros within the month of November 2009.
The AASTMT has established a number of specialized Arab institutes to present the core of business administration Masters Degree in various fields instead of the overall content of this professional Masters.
The AASTMT is planning to establish a series of disaster and crisis management centres in different sectors to cater for the demands of development in the Arab countries. The following has been achieved:
The AASTMT is planning to implement some projects in various sectors to fulfill the development demands in the Arab countries including: