The Cisco Network Academy Program is an educational program taught in more than 9000 educational institutions worldwide. The same content is taught all over which makes this a truly international program. The aim of the program is to teach students both theoretical and practical skills to prepare them for a career in Communication Networking. The Cisco Networking Academy Program partners with schools, colleges, universities, NGOs and Governments to afford students the opportunity to become networking professionals and to help a country to increase its advanced ICT skills base.

Background Information

In 1999, the Faculty of Computer Studies (at the ex-PE Technikon) approached the global Information Communication and Technology (ICT) giant, Cisco Systems, to form a training partnership. In 2000, the program was implemented at the Technikon’s Computer Studies Faculty.
The Faculty initially operated as a local and later a regional Cisco Academy. The program was so successful that in 2006, Cisco systems appointed the (then) NMMU regional Cisco Academy as a Cisco Academy Training Centre (CATC) responsible for the sub-Saharan Africa region. The Sub-Saharan Africa Cisco Academy Training Centre (SSA CATC) now operates as a unit of the School of ICT in the Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology. The role of the SSA CATC is to manage and support Cisco programs and Academies.
In 2008, the SSA CATC took on support for the CCNP (Cisco Certified Networking Professional) program for the Middle East region as well and is still the only CCNP CATC in the Africa & Middle East region. It is currently directly and indirectly involved with nearly 300 educational institutions running Cisco Academies in Africa and the Middle East. 11% of the Cisco international program student population falls within the ambit of the SSA CATC at the University.

Benefit to students at the Nelson Mandela University 

Several of the Academy Program courses are integrated into the Diploma & Degree programs offered by the School of ICT. The program is truly international –students in PE learn the same as students from all over the world. The same material is used and all Cisco academies are bound by the same rules and standards. As such, the Cisco courses that form part of the formal IT qualifications at the NMMU, are recognized internationally.
The skills shortage in this field creates the opportunity for successful students to be employed locally, nationally and internationally with companies like Telkom, various network companies, e.g. Dimension Data, BCX, etc., various end-user companies throughout the world, e.g. in Dubai, London, Amsterdam, to name a few, and with CISCO Systems themselves.
The program is not just a theoretical program. The theoretical content is of world class standard and maps to external international certification exams – which optionally students may take as well. This once again lends international recognition to the program. The courses however also include a practical component where students get the opportunity to apply the theory learnt on real networking equipment (routers, switches, etc.). To this extent equipment worth in excess of R 3 million is available to students at the School of ICT in specialized computer laboratories.