Secondary schools in Hong Kong need to offer more training in networking and information technology, according to education specialists at Cisco Systems. 'Secondary should be a good time for students to start their knowledge in networking,' Joseph Lin, Cisco's worldwide education technology manager for Asia-Pacific, said. Mr Lin said Cisco's CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) level was widely taught in United States high schools. The CCNA programme, equivalent to 280 instruction hours, provides students with a basic foundation in networking. Students learn about router configuration, Lan (local area network) and Wan (wide area network) design. 'From Cisco's point of view, we see this CCNA networking knowledge should be with everyone. Everyone in the e-world should know what a network is. They may not know how to build it but everybody should have basic knowledge of how the Internet works because the whole world will run on the Internet,' Mr Lin said. Since 1999, 18 secondary schools in Hong Kong have been offering CCNA training as regional academies. Mr Lin hoped the number would increase to 40 by the end of this year. 'If [students] learn it earlier, they have two choices - if they cannot get into universities or tertiary institutions, they have a skilful job to go for. 'For those who can enter tertiary education, by that time they should know whether networking is the field they would like to be in.' He said local academies would have full support from regional academies in terms of technical knowledge and laboratories. Regional academies in the SAR include City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, University of Science and Technology, and Hong Kong Vocational Education Council.