Strathmore University in Nairobi has opened a Centre of Excellence for Oracle at the university’s research centre, @iLabAfrica. The facility, funded by a grant from Oracle, will be used for a variety of Oracle training workshops and activities for university faculty and students, high school teachers and students, and technology entrepreneurs.
According to Dr Fred Matiangi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT, “Our vision is to make Kenya an ICT Hub and to build a globally competitive digital economy. We project that ICT will contribute to at least 8 percent of Kenya’s income by the year 2017. To achieve these goals, we need to work on our capacity both in skills and business. This will require collaborative efforts by all stakeholders. The coming together of Strathmore University and Oracle to establish the Strathmore University Centre of Excellence for Oracle is necessary in building critical ICT knowledge. As the ICT Ministry we encourage and acknowledge these initiatives.”
This Centre of Excellence at @iLabAfrica will create opportunities for Kenyan youth to gain technology-related skills that can enable them to work across industries and borders. The IT skills gap represents a challenge for Kenya. The new Centre of Excellence @iLabAfrica provides a vital tool to expand technology education and help to close the gap.
Oracle is committed to developing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills around the world, including in Kenya, and key initiatives like the Centre of Excellence at @iLabAfrica support this goal to develop a deep and robust pool of ICT skills to underpin the country’s technology transformation.
“There are very few jobs today that don’t require some sort of ICT understanding, skill or experience,” said Dr. Gilbert Saggia, Country Leader, 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.”
Kenya has identified teacher training in computer science as a critical building block in its skills capacity building work. 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.
“Development of effective and collaborative innovation ecosystems like @iLabAfrica can help drive African economies like Kenya’s,” said Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director, @iLabAfrica Research Centre. “Collaboration is crucial to innovation. Working together with Oracle has enabled us to leverage technology as a means of addressing our most pressing challenges. This collaborative drive gave rise to the new Centre of Excellence @iLabAfrica, which can be a powerful vehicle for delivering technology education.”