Education represents a major stake in countries where we operate, thus we want to promote knowledge and competences transmission using Information and the Communication Technology (ICT), and to allow stakeholders to benefit from our Telco expertise. There is a significant gap between the Kenyan Universities’ curriculum offered to engineers, and the actual status of the ICT Industry. This can impede the development of the ICT industry. Thus, we launched the "Telecom Seeds for the Future" project in Kenya in June 2011 which saw Huawei signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Safaricom and 3 local public Universities (University of Nairobi, Moi University, and Jomo Kenyatta University)
The main challenge is to provide up to date ICT trainings to students, as there is a gap between what is learned in class and what is happening in the industry. Students moreover require up to date training to remain desirable in the job market: we make that possible through this program.
The objective is to work with local universities to support the education system. Huawei donates data communications equipments and we use our East Africa State of the art training center for students/lecturers so that they can be exposed to the latest technologies. We also support them in their professional development by offering internship positions in our company. The training centre is spread out on 3 floors: 2 of the floors hold equipment while one floor is used specifically for training. It can hold a maximum of between 40 to 80 students at a time. The centre is equipped with 10 trainers. If needed, other resources are also available in South Africa, Nigeria and in our headquarters in China.
The program also includes a University curriculum review and competition for Android applications development to enhance localized innovation. On December 9th, Huawei will award the top 5 android applications selected from over 50 applications submitted from the three Universities.
Monthly meetings between Huawei, Safaricom and the Universities are held to discuss the progress of the project- a joint calendar is drawn by the stakeholders to ensure we support key events in the Universities such as Career fairs, Engineering Symposiums, etc,. Huawei also invites the universities to its annual events such as the recent Mobile Broadband Demo Truck that took place in August which demonstrated the latest MBB solutions.
All concerned stakeholders recognize the success of the project and its benefits to Kenyan society. Demands are increasing from both students and universities. Thus, we are facing two main challenges:
- Considering the 3 universities were a pilot study, more Universities such as Kenyatta University and Strathmore Universities are pushing to be part of the MoU;
- The number of students who request and require internships is overwhelming. With limitations in the number of students we can accept, due to wanting to ensure that they have a good and constructive experience, as well as access to the resources they need, it is difficult to meet the demand of requests.
With this project, we contribute to bridge the digital divide by giving access to state-of-the-art technology to students. We furthermore mitigate the lack of qualified engineers. This project fully supports Kenya's vision 2030, which aims is to help transform Kenya into a, “middle-income country providing a high quality life to all its citizens by the year 2030”. One of the social pillars is education and training and adopting ICT and innovation as an implementation tool.
We also promote local innovation and entrepreneurship with the development of applications to facilitate overcoming the daily challenges of Kenyans. The aim is to sustain the success of our IDEOS smartphone, a leader on the Kenyan smartphone market with a 45% share, as it is crucial to promote localized software applications.
Thus, this project aims to support the growth of the Telco industry and the overall development of Kenya.