NAIROBI, Kenya – Kenya’s first mobile phone service provider Safaricom and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) have entered into a partnership for the enhancement of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) training in the country.
The partnership is aimed at increasing development and industrialisation through research, training, innovation and technological advancement in ICT-related fields.
Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Michael Joseph said on Tuesday that the partnership would make it possible for the two institutions to engage in various collaborative initiatives for their mutual benefit.
"It will enhance professional skills of staff in both institutions through training, staff and student interactions and the exchange of experiences and information,” said Mr Joseph.
He explained that the two institutions would collaborate in the areas of project management and implementation, sharing of learning facilities, institutional capacity building and staff exchange.
“Other areas of co-operation include student training and attachment, exchange and dissemination of information, research, innovation and technology development, technology transfer and other related areas,” said Mr Joseph.
Speaking at the signing ceremony for the agreement, JKUAT Vice Chancellor Mabel Imbuga reiterated that the agreement was important because it allowed both staff and students to benefit from hands-on experience using the newest technology in the market.
“The agreement further seals the gaps that were previously experienced in terms of students not being in touch with the newest trends in technology because the university laboratories may not be able to keep up with the acquisition of the new machines in the market,”Ms Imbuga observed.
She said the university currently sets aside Sh70 million annually for its research and development budget but would need a ten fold increase if this money was to make an impact on the institution’s research portfolio.
“We provide Sh40 million to be competed for by our staff for various research projects and another about Sh35 million for innovation. However considering on average a staff member may require about Sh10 million per project the current figure is very low,” she acknowledged.
Kenyan universities have not faired well in global rankings due to little input in research funding and latest equipment.