Dubai – MENA Herald: Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) recently signed agreement with Ellucian Inc. to launch the first official Ellucian Banner training center in the Middle East in co-operation with Ellucian, helping Banner users to develop smarter Information Systems for Learners. The facility will be based on the campus of HBMSU that will serve as Ellucian’s first Authorized Global Training Partner. Simultaneously, HBMSU also launched the latest version of Banner® internally to continue the development of providing exemplary services to students, faculty and staff. The co-operative launching of the Ellucian training center is of strategic importance as it sets solid foundations for providing quality classroom based vocational training through the use of the Banner® system. Banner® is the Student Information System (SIS) of choice for major  universities in the UAE,  KSA and other Gulf countries.

The Ellucian Training Center will be a key facility within HBMSU’s campus and represents a major development in helping educational institutions in the Middle East to access the best Banner® training services. The Training Center will enable academicians, faculty, administrative officials and IT teams to effectively use Banner® to improve operating performance levels. It also supports ongoing Emiratization efforts by working with local institutions and universities in training UAE Nationals on core SIS functions using the Banner® suite in all administrative processes ranging from Strategic Management and Records Handling to Learners Recruitment, Admissions, Registration, and Academic Advising.

During the official launch, HBMSU revealed that it’s highly innovative applications fulfill the requirements of the ‘smart’ learning environment and are able to be integrated with the Banner®. These applications include many new features, such as a personal and unified identification code for learners, additional options that support the use of ATMs, bank checks and electronic wallets to pay tuition fees, Academic Advising services, notifications via SMS and e-mail, as well as interface compatibility with smartphones and tablets.

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMSU was pleased with the signing of the MoU with Ellucian, explaining that it will bring about a radical shift in Banner®-related professional training. H.E. Dhahi Khalfa   pointed out that by choosing HBMSU to host the training center, Ellucian affirms the high international confidence that this joint venture brings. He added that the selection of the University reflects the advanced levels it has achieved as an educational institution that is re-shaping the future of teaching and learning and the development of human resources qualified to lead the transformation into an integrated knowledge-based economy and the building of a better future for the Arab World.

Al Awar added: “We are delighted with the success of our Banner project and our ability to leverage our existing proven applications and their integration with the Banner® Student Information System. The applications have features tailored to the character and uniqueness of our smart environment, which keeps pace with the rapid changes of the 21st century. The use of the new Banner® system is in line with our ongoing commitment to adopt the most advanced technological innovations in support of our tireless endeavors to enhance operational efficiency, the quality of performance, and service excellence. HBMSU’s cooperation with Ellucian on the Banner® Student Information System is an important motivation for us to continue consolidating our leadership as a first-class global training hub in various fields related to educational technology”.

Mathew Boice, Vice President, Ellucian, emphasized the importance of strategic cooperation with HBMSU in launching the Banner® Training Center  in response to the remarkable growth in demand for the Banner® solution over the past few years, particularly in Gulf states which are witnessing rapid economic development, strong interest in developing the education sector, and a growing focus on building knowledge-based economies. He commended HBMSU’s regional leadership in smart technology – enabled education, pointing out that it is the ideal partner for expanding the adoption of the Banner® system in educational institutions across the Middle East, one of the fastest growing education markets in the world.

He noted that HBMSU is “walking the walk” by itself adopting Banner® to serve students that are studying in a technology centric and mixed mode learning environment.  

Boice said: “The latest version of Banner®, has high training demand due to the new users. In addition, we have countries like the UAE helping their own citizens develop their skills on the latest technologies. These factors combine to create a significant demand for skilling and training. This exciting partnership with HBMSU facilitates the development of locally-grown Banner® expertise for addressing this gap in terms of the optimal use of the Banner® system and enabling higher education institutions to better serve their students and learners.”

The Ellucian Training Center at HBMSU will provide Banner®training courses in both Arabic and English. The first courses are scheduled to begin in early 2016. Under the terms of the Agreement, Ellucian will promote the Training Centre to Banner clients across the region and will provide the Ellucian certified training materials. HBMSU has been authorized to use Ellucian’s own cloud-based Banner virtual lab training environment. The University will provide world-class teaching and training facilities, as well as Certified Ellucian Trainers,