Dream takes shape with Konza tech varsity near completion

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Konza phase 2 Data Centre at Konza Technopolis in Machakos County. FILE PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

Last week, the ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo said the government will soon open the Konza technology university.

The Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is a smart university that will provide Masters and doctorate-level training in mechanical, electrical and ICT engineering.

It will also produce graduates of science, technology and innovation as part of the government's interventions to drive digital transformation.

The university whose construction started last year is tipped to not only improve digital skills but also attract foreign investors to establish tech industries in Kenya, hence creating jobs.

The postgraduate studies institution was funded partly by a Sh9.6 billion credit facility from South Korea. The government of Kenya contributed Sh4.5 billion.

It sits on a 36-acre piece of land at the Technopolis and was modelled on the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology whose emphasis is specialised training that addresses the skills gaps in emerging technologies.

According to the construction plan, the campus will comprise 10 research science labs working as operation spaces for specialised local and international researchers in science, technology and engineering.

Experts in the tech-education field say that if successful, the institution will act as a catalyst in fast-tracking Kenya into a middle-income country.

Dr Lilian Wanzare, an ICT lecturer at Maseno University, says that research projects developed by the postgraduate learners at the tech university will have the potential to evolve into impact establishments, leading to the formation of tech-based industries and thus creating job opportunities.

“If there is a way of creating a targeted centre of excellence or research groups for various issues or projects and bringing experts from different fields together, then that can be of great impact in terms of master and doctorate level research. The idea here is interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaborations towards solving challenges,” says Dr Wanzare.

“From this kind of research, ideas can come up that can lead to start-up formation thus creating jobs. The research can also lead to products that require large-scale production and this can lead to the formation of new tech-based industries,” she adds.

The development of the ultra-modern smart varsity is part of the Kenya National Digital Master plan 2022-2032, which was unveiled last year by then ICT CS Joe Mucheru as a blueprint that proposes the acceleration of Konza expansion to promote cloud services and data management.

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