There is a big disparity in what the educational institution are churning out in terms of skills and what the IT industry needs, according to AITEC chairman Sean Moroney.
Moroney said that the education sector in the country needs to be on a par with the development in ICT that Kenya is seeing.
“The workforce IT needs keep changing. It has therefore become imperative that academic institutions actively engage with the private sector and government to be aware of what they need to incorporate into their curricula in order to prepare their graduates adequately for the job market,” he stated.
He gave an example of the Supervisory Control Data Acquisition (SCDA) software, which is used across the board but the training for its users is solely sought from the in-house workforce. According to him, there is no curriculum that teaches such software.
“There is no doubt that universities and tertiary institutions are providing a large pool of graduates. The problem, however, lies in the large disparity between academia and work. Accreditation has therefore become key in this market,” Kevit Desai, Chairman of the Linking Industry With Academia (LIWA) Trust, said.
Moroney says that companies are using a lot of resources in retraining their ICT workforce to suit their needs. Some of this training can take from six months to a year. This is with the backdrop of 9,600 IT graduates set to join the workforce this year.
The Julisha Monitoring and Evaluation Survey, done last year, revealed that companies operating in the ICT sector were having difficulty in finding enough skilled staff in Kenya.
David Svarrer of Digital Age Institute agrees. He says: “For ourselves, we see a lack of skills within software development, and we see low levels of IT absorption in the primary and secondary school levels, leading to an IT skills deficit in general.”
Moroney made these remarks as Nairobi gears up for AITEC East Africa ICT summit to be held on October 24 to 25, bringing various industry players together under the theme: Smart Cities, Smart Societies, Smart Enterprises.