The Africa Development Center which is Microsoft's engineering arm has partnered with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to roll out a new curriculum for engineering students.
The partnership is aimed at expanding access to digital skills training to harness opportunities in the digital space.
Microsoft's premier engineering arm, has rolled out a new curriculum for engineering students at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, in a bid to improve the tech talent pipeline and reduce the skills gap between classrooms and the workplace.
“The ADC is running multiple initiatives to improve the tech talent pipeline starting from primary school all the way to working to improve the skills of practicing professionals. As part of the skilling drive, the ADC is looking to improve tech-based curricular within local institutions of higher learning so as to reduce the skills gap between classrooms and the workplace,” said Irene Githinji, the ADC Student and Education Engagement Program Manager.
The initiatives range from coding classes for children, teaching basic computer skills to underprivileged individuals to highly technical learning opportunities such as the Game of Learners hackathon, which helps university students fine-tune their skills by building real-world solutions under the supervision of industry professionals.
The partnership between the Africa Development Center and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, is part of the digital Transformation Strategy for Africa which aims at providing a massive online e-skills development program to 300 million annually by the year 2025, to provide basic knowledge and skills in digital security and privacy.
“Students pursuing STEM related courses will benefit from the new curriculum because they will have access to updated resources, courses, and assessments. Additionally, updated curriculums withindustry input will help students gain hands-on tech skills that will be useful throughout their tech careers,” Githinji added.
Githinji said while players in the technology sector are constantly on the lookout for new talent, they are frequently unable to hire directly from universities because students are mostly armed with theoretical knowledge at the expense of much-needed application skills in software engineering fundamentals.
She further notes that there is need to transition from paper examination to online assessment, as most students have never sat for coding exams via online assessment, as evidenced when they sit for the ADC’s coding interviews.