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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Impact of the Program

Regardless of race, gender, culture, or socioeconomic status, individuals worldwide are engaged in building a better future through the Cisco Networking Academy Program, which helps communities transcend the digital divide of information “haves” and “have-nots.” As part of their project-based learning activities, students have a chance to give back to their communities by designing, building, and maintaining networks for local schools and other civic organizations. At the same time, it provides educational institutions with in-house resources to manage their technology. It provides invaluable preparation for college coursework in science, math, and engineering (as well as for employment in the IT field).

Richard Murnane, Professor of Education and Society at Harvard, submitted a study, “Can the Internet Help Solve America’s Education Problems: Lessons from the Cisco Networking Academies” (with N. Sharkey and F. Levy), to the National Research Council (NRC), an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. This study looked at how the program works, why it appeals to high schools and community colleges, and how the academy team dealt with problems that they confronted in schools and, in particular, how it made use of information technology in crafting solutions. The authors believe that the Cisco Networking Academy Program and its development provides valuable insights into how to address the challenges of the American education system and the role of the Internet in providing solutions to those challenges. The authors believe that Internet learning can

  • Address skill needs in the education sector

  • Find quality teachers and provide ongoing professional development

  • Create equal-education opportunities for all

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (December 2002), “The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy,” Michael Porter and Mark Kramer wrote that the program “exemplifies the powerful links that exist between a company’s philanthropic strategy, its competitive context and social benefits.” It mentions that Cisco has created a program that “no other educational institution, government agency, foundation, or corporate donor could have designed as well or expanded as rapidly.” Discussing the benefits of the program to Cisco, the article mentions that besides strengthening its market share and providing employers in the technology industry with hundreds of qualified employees, the program has helped Cisco increase “the sophistication of its customers.”

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