Following the directives of His Highness Sh. Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and President of Bahrain Olympic Committee, Bahrain Polytechnic has successfully launched the Artificial Intelligence Academy, in collaboration with Tamkeen as a strategic partner and Microsoft as of Saturday, 5th September 2020. It began with its first batch of 38 participants (out of 126 who applied) ranging from school and university students to job-seekers and professionals.
This academy is the first of its kind in the region and the Middle East, through which the educational platform is used as a service to provide an integrated specialized program based on enhancing innovation and creativity capabilities in the field of AI.
For his part, Bahrain Polytechnic’s Deputy CEO of Resources and Information Affairs, and Chair of the Artificial Intelligence Academy Committee, Sh. Ali bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, explained that the participants were selected based on a specific criteria subject to evaluation by a committee consisting of representatives from Bahrain Polytechnic, Microsoft, Tamkeen, and experts in this field. The criteria was based on passing the interview, where participants are evaluated on the basis of the project idea, knowledge, academic qualifications or performance, experience, and personal skills.
He added: “The Artificial Intelligence Academy aims to support the Kingdom of Bahrain’s initiatives related to AI, under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa which called to strengthen Bahrain’s role as a country that supports the implementation of sustainable development goals in the scientific field.”
“During the fifth legislative term of the Shura and Representatives Council, His Majesty affirmed the Kingdom’s technical readiness, which qualifies it to focus directly on improving its digital economy and artificial intelligence capabilities. Based on this wise vision, we at Bahrain Polytechnic, and through the Artificial Intelligence Academy, will work hard to build a solid base of students, teach them the actual concept of the meaning of communication between work and perception. They will acquire international professional certifications from Microsoft that qualify them to innovate and serve the community using the latest available tools and technologies, and to meet the needs of the labor market in line with the Kingdom of Bahrain Vision 2030. They will be able to contribute to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, which will provide the graduates the opportunity to be employed in global companies, and open new horizons for companies or startups.”
On this occasion, Sh. Saif Hilal Al Hosni, Country Manager of Microsoft Bahrain and Oman, said: “Consolidating the foundations of creativity and innovation is one of the most important pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and this will only be done by building a national workforce that has a vast amount of experience and skill that qualifies it to contribute to advancing the country’s economy. We thank our partners Bahrain Polytechnic and Tamkeen for their support to this initiative, and we are proud of this participation in the presence of national bodies that are doing a lot to enhance expertise and competencies in the field of artificial intelligence, which is now a major supporter of the country’s knowledge-based economy.”
On this occasion, Dr. Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi, Chief Executive of Tamkeen, expressed his delight at the launch of the first batch of participants of the program which has been worked on since 2018, where he stated: “Undoubtedly, the ICT sector has gained increasing importance, especially in light of the current circumstances. This led to many industries and sectors around the world to a trend of digital transformation and the implementation of technology, which contributes to the sustainability of its business.
Dr. Janahi added: “We rely heavily on the outputs of these initiatives, as they allow Bahraini youth to benefit from artificial intelligence techniques by linking knowledge with practical application and the needs of the labor market. This in turn enhances their opportunities to provide diversity and innovation that contributes to strengthening Bahrain’s position as a pioneer in ICT in the region.”
It is worth noting that the Artificial Intelligence Academy was inaugurated in 2018, under the direction of His Highness Sh. Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and President of Bahrain Olympic Committee, to include artificial intelligence specializations in the educational system in the Kingdom, especially with the excellent projects that were developed by youth in the annual “Khalid bin Hamad Competition for Innovation in Artificial Intelligence“, which indicates the desire and willingness of young people to enter this field.