The courses will be able to handle up to 20,000 people a year by 2010, making the project the largest private sector involvement in Egypt’s state education sector.

The first 3,000 students will start in September at universities in Cairo and Alexandria.

IBM Daksh, Infosys and Firstsource reached agreement with Egypt’s inward-investment agency, the IT Industry Development Agency (Itida), earlier this month.

“They will share with us the knowhow of their curriculum because they want to be sure that they are graduating good-calibre people for themselves when they expand their operations here,” says Amin Khaireldin, a board member at Itida.

The Egyptian IT sector employs about 50,000 people.