New partnership to boost IT standards in Kenya
Posted Monday, June 1 2009 at 00:00
The recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Cisco Networking Academy and the Ministry of Higher Education heralds a new era in IT education in the country’s institutions of higher learning.
Ms Hital Muraj, Cisco’s Area Academy Manager for East Africa said the MOU will enable universities, technical and vocational training institutions to offer IT courses in tandem with industry certification and international standards.
“So far the institutions have not been up to date in terms of best practice.
“Since the Cisco curriculum is the same one offered globally, students graduating from these institutions will be able to market themselves all over the world,” Ms Muraj said.
However, Ms Muraj acknowledges infrastructure problems plaguing the academies, key among them being power failure and slow Internet connectivity.
The five-year MOU, which targets 40 institutions of higher learning, will first be rolled out in the four national polytechnics in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret which are currently being upgraded to universities.
Mombasa Polytechnic has already started the academy programme.
With the signing of the MOU, the course is now going to be available in vocational institutions for many students who are unable to go to university.
Prof Chrispus Kiamba, the Higher Education permanent secretary signed the MOU on behalf of the government at the third annual instructors’ East Africa event held at Kenyatta University’s Mombasa campus.
The two-day event hosts Cisco Networking Academies from throughout East Africa aiming to raise and maintain the quality of IT instruction by providing in-depth technical refresher training sessions for all instructors.
The event also facilitates networking between instructors, prospective employers for work-force development and Cisco strategic business partners and resellers. This year, the event hosted instructors from Cisco Networking Academies in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Mauritius.
The Ministry of Higher Education said the academy programme met the requirements for Kenya’s Technical, Industrial, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TIVET) for institutions and Universities.
Cisco’s general manager for East Africa, Shahab Meshki, signed on behalf of his company during a ceremony witnessed by Kenyatta University’s vice-chancellor Prof Olive Mugenda.
An impact assessment study carried out in 2007 showed that the academies are producing desired results. The course has increased career opportunities for students with nearly two-thirds find employment.
According to the study, two-thirds find employment in the private sector and 10 per cent start their own businesses.