Since its launch in September 2014, IBM’s African Skills Initiative in partnership Kenya Education Network (KENET), have so far equipped over 1600 students with their certification courses providing them with critical entry-level job skills that are in high demand by employers in Kenya and Africa.
IBM has also donated a physical server that will offer cloud services to over 50 campuses. The physical server by IBM can serve up to 80 students concurrently.
IBM offered modules in; Mobile Applications specialist, Cyber security, and Business Analytics that are in high demand both in industry and public sector all over Africa. The courses are 80% hands-on with required e-books and other reading materials.
The courses can be taken by senior computer science, information systems, engineering, or business students. The fees for the courses and subsequent certification have been waived for the participating universities.
“As global IT companies operating in Africa search for cost-effective ways to address the shortage of ICT skills, KENET shall continue exploring opportunities that benefit its member institutions’ students and faculty and ways of reducing the total cost of operating using appropriate information systems for these members. So far we have 57 universities out 65 universities connected to our broadband therefore serving close to 500,000 students,” stated Prof. Meoli Kashorda, KENET Executive Director.
He also added, “This IBM certification program will provide university graduates with critical entry-level job skills that are in high demand by employers in Kenya and Africa. Both the African universities and leading private sector companies that are investing on the continent stand to benefit from this program.”
The partnership with KENET is part of IBM’s $60 million investment of over three years to develop the next generation of technical talent in Africa. As part of the initiative, IBM is expanding the Africa Technical Academy and the company’s Africa University Programme to over 20 African countries.
“This program addresses two national and global crises, namely; unemployment or underemployment among ICT and engineering graduates and the critical entry-level skills shortage. IBM has the highest concentration of technical talent on the African continent. As the leader in science and technology in Africa, we see it as IBM’s responsibility to make a strategic investment in skills development helping to lay the foundations of the Africa of tomorrow,” said John Baptist Matogo, University Relations Country Leader IBM East Africa.
He also added that the courses are available at no cost and are facilitated by both IBM online trainers and certified faculty in the participating universities.
KENET is the first sub-Saharan National Research and Education Network to enter into such an agreement with IBM that allows all connected member universities to benefit from the certification program.