Kenya: Oracle's Centre of Excellence to Bridge It Skills Gap in Kenya


A major challenge the ICT sector in Kenya is facing is the IT skills gap as most Kenyan youth lack opportunities to gain technology-related skills that can enable them work across industries and borders.

This has seen the government through the Ministry of ICT partner with tech companies to bridge this gap by building high-end skills and promoting Digital Literacy.

However, this is changing with the introduction of Centres of Excellence where global tech firms introduce programmes to aid youths gain IT-related skills and become competitive globally.

An example Oracle's Centre of Excellence that was launched yesterday - September 10, 2014 - at @iLabAfrica, Strathmore University which is set to become the focal point of Oracle training and resources in Kenya. The centre was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Dr Fred Matiang'i.

Matiang'i praised the collaboration between government and private sector saying it was what would help narrow the skills gap in ICTs in the country. He invited Oracle to expand the program across other universities in Kenya so as to tap into the great talent possessed by the youth in Kenya.

"Partnership is a key to innovation. Over the past decade public-private partnerships have become a creative and sophisticated mechanism for addressing priority challenges and for leveraging skills and resources of the private sector and academia towards the provision of services. To this end, the ministry in collaboration with the private sector, research and institutes of higher learning is committed to working together to promote "Inclusive Innovation" - that is innovation that is relevant to our citizen's needs," said Matiang'i.

The Oracle Centre of Excellence at Strathmore University is a state-of-the-art computer lab that will be used to train teachers and students at secondary and university level across the country in oracle technologies, such as Java and Oracle 11 g databases. The lab which has a capacity of more than 30 pcs is part of the Oracle Academy program and is already running the first course in Oracle database administrator.

The Oracle team was led by the country manager for Kenya Dr Gilbert Saggia accompanied by Njeri Maina the business manager Oracle Academy Africa, Jame Richardson the manager of for Oracle Academy EMEA and other team members from Oracle.

"There are very few jobs today that don't require some sort of ICT understanding, skill or experience," said Dr. Gilbert Saggia, Country Leader, and Oracle Kenya. "In a fast-growing economy like Kenya, investing in ICT skills is imperative for business and government alike. Oracle is proud to work alongside organisations like Strathmore University to introduce a world-class training facility to support skills development in the country."

In attendance was also was the Director of @iLabAfrica Dr. Joseph Sevilla.

Dr. Sevilla in his remarks pointed out that @iLabAfrica has feet on the ground to impact students with skills relevant in the industry. The Oracle Centre of Excellence would play a big role in helping out @iLabAfrica in this mandate

Oracle Academy completed its inaugural educator training event at @iLabAfrica for educators from Strathmore University, Equity Foundation, and iHub in July. The five-day Oracle Academy Java Fundamentals course prepared teachers to cascade critical skills to nearly 2000 students in the coming year as part of ongoing relationships with Oracle Academy to develop IT skills in Kenya.

Source: CIO east Africa 11 September 2014