A new Internet training center in Togo will give young people in that part of West Africa a chance to improve their job skills. The International Telecommunication Union and the computer-networking company Cisco Systems launched the center. A telecom company in Lome is also taking part in the effort. Robert Shaw of the ITU says students will learn the basics of what he calls the "real plumbing of the Internet."In January,five instructors completed two weeks of intensive training known as the Cisco Certified Networking Academy. They also learned how to train others. Robert Shaw says this kind of train-the-trainer program helps meet a growing demand for professionals in information and communication technologies, or ICT. He said: "The Internet and these networks are growing so fast, it's really hard to keep up. And the rate of change means it's very difficult for the classical educational programs to keep up with the demand that's out there in the marketplace."Mr. Shaw says recent years have seen an even stronger demand for these kinds of programs in the developing world.He said now there are about two billion users on the Internet. The majority of those -- about one point two billion -- are in developing countries. That is almost the complete opposite of what the situation was five years ago.The ITU launched its Internet Training Center program in two thousand one. The centers are meant to help spread the growth of ICT jobs to developing countries. More than eighty centers have opened in the Asia-Pacific area, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Africa. Mr. Shaw says the new center in Lome will open to students in March. He said one goal of the program is to get more women and girls to take part. So the program targets at least thirty percent female enrollment. Other locations in Africa include Angola, Cape Verde, Kenya, Malawi and Mali. They also include Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Mauritania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Students pay for the training; the cost is different in each country. Those who complete the program are known as Cisco-certified. The program lasts about six months because most students attend part time.
For VOA Special English I'm Alex Villarreal. You can comment on this story at voaspecialenglish.com. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English.