[Column] Tonny Tugee: Education and cloud technology in Kenya – the key to a competitive edge

A fundamental building block in ensuring the success of not only a country, but each citizen, is education. Our journey to becoming a digitally transformed nation has only just begun and it’s already revolutionised so many aspects of so many lives. We need to find ways to educate and upskill our rapidly evolving nation to sustain the momentum we have achieved over the last few years and months.

The execution of education has changed

Given recent events, we have seen the mass migration to virtual and online classrooms. Although there have been issues, with greater infrastructure investment this has the potential to bridge the gap when it comes to equal access to education. Location could no longer be an area of concern, as learners can use the cloud to learn wherever they have access to an Internet connection. Instead of needing to arrange and pay for transport to and from school, the only thing necessary to access learning is a stable Internet connection and the required login credentials. This will be a big step towards ensuring all children of school-going age in Kenya can get an education, regardless of where they may live.

This is equally relevant in the business world. As work environments change and technologies evolve, it’s important to equip your workforce with the skills needed to continue adding value in an increasingly digital economy. Cloud-based learning platforms allow us to upskill employees and, as a result, the businesses in which they operate. This can be achieved through digital workshops, training courses, and even remote job shadowing. The Internet provides a wealth of knowledge, and by sharing this with your employees, you equip them with the skills to better themselves and help Kenya become Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) ready.

Of course, this relies on the ability to access the Internet and have an Internet-enabled device to access a classroom or workshop.

Infrastructure: a stumbling block on the path to self-improvement

While having all of these tools available and ready to be used, there’s a critical component that needs to be present for this to be of use to us: proper infrastructure. 

Infrastructure enables us to access all the tools required to participate in a digital world. The biggest area for concern is the ability to connect to the Internet – the backbone of online communication and connectivity. 

With the 4IR fast approaching, Kenya must equip itself with the tools needed to reap the benefits of imminent innovative global changes. The advantages of cloud-based learning cannot be realised unless reliable infrastructure has been developed, rolled out to all areas, and is properly maintained. Government and the private sector need to work together to ensure that the most rural communities will also be able to access cloud-based learning and develop digital skills. 

A growing digital economy requires ongoing commitment

Growing our economy requires the commitment of many stakeholders. From investing in our infrastructure development to educating a nation on what exactly cloud technology is, how to use it, and the risks involved with working in the online space, there are so many opportunities for involvement.

In the same breath, this is not simply a once-off process. The digital world is evolving at a rapid pace, and investment in this needs to be ongoing to ensure that we are able to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us. As this technology evolves, so should our investment in education and skills development. We cannot leave our workforce behind on our journey to finding more innovative ways of doing business; they need to advance as the business systems and needs become more complex.

We need to maintain the forward trajectory that has been achieved in the last few months if we are to keep up with more developed economies. Digital education of children and the workforce is a powerful tool for uplifting communities, and the cloud has the power to enable this education. We have seen large-scale cloud adoption changing the world; now it’s time to see how it can change Kenya.

Tonny Tugee (Featured Image), is the SEACOM East North East Africa, Managing Director.

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