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‘Not the case at PSUT’

Jan 23,2014 - Last updated at Jan 23,2014

It was a great disappointment for the staff and students of Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) to read the article “IT students lack training on cyber security — [email protected]” (The Jordan Times, January 20, 2014) on the apparent lack of preparedness of IT students in the Kingdom to deal with cyber security threats now and in the future.

It may indeed be the case that many Jordanian universities lack programmes and initiatives that equip their graduates with these vital skills, but this is most certainly not the case at PSUT.

We have long been aware of the growing importance of cyber security training for all IT students and have made it a feature of our rigorous academic courses.

Indeed, in 2011 we launched a groundbreaking, vital, master’s degree programme to deal exactly with this issue.

The MSc in information systems security and digital criminology (ISSDC) was devised and introduced in response to an urgent demand expressed by respondents to a questionnaire we distributed to several government and private institutions, including the Public Security Department, the Jordan Armed Forces, the General Intelligence Department, the Ministry of ICT, the Ministry of Justice, various banking organisations and the Social Security Corporation.

The ISSDC master’s programme is the only one of its kind in Jordan, although other local universities have been inspired to incorporate certain elements of the programme in their IT course syllabuses.

We believe that the PSUT graduate programme is a response to the need for cyber security and digital criminology specialists in the country and region.

Indeed, it responds exactly to the pressing need highlighted in the article: to provide experts to deal with threats from hackers who target both public and private institutions.

Ten of our students successfully graduated from the ISSDC programme in the academic year 2012-2013 and some 50 more are currently enrolled in the programme, receiving in-depth education, practical training and opportunities for vital research into cyber-security related issues.

We are planning to launch an undergraduate programme in ISSDC in the very near future.

PSUT is very much aware that cyber security is a constantly evolving area of concern.

The Jordan Times article refers to cyber security attacks in very generic terms, and does little to evaluate current and future threats and responses.

Undoubtedly, there is lack of relevant expertise in the country. However, the statement that “universities in Jordan do not even provide IT students with an option to study subjects related to cyber security” is clearly incorrect.

PSUT not only offers the master’s degree programme, it also offers ongoing security education and training in its bachelor’s degree programmes (ABET accredited-American Universities Standard) at the King Hussein Faculty of Computing Sciences.

In addition, CISCO network security training workshops are regularly held at the university; they are open to our own students as well as the general public.

Higher education institutions in Jordan, and particularly PSUT, are acutely aware of the importance of cyber security in the “Information Age” and much is being done to address the issue. However, as in any other field of knowledge and education, efforts to improve and develop cyber security programmes must be upgraded constantly.

For detailed information on PSUT’s graduate programme visit: http://psut.edu.jo/site/en/faculties/computing-sciences/computer-science/it-security-digital-criminology-m-sc.html

Issa Batarseh,
President PSUT

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