Kenyan operator Safaricom has equipped a US$1 million state of the art GSM suite at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, which aims to train students in engineering.
Bob Collymore, Safaricom chief executive officer (CEO), said the equipment will help transform the way practical training in telecommunications is offered at the institution to students studying mobile communication, data communication and transmission courses.
“The laboratory will transform the way telecoms practical training is offered at the University and impact not only on the students’ knowledge and capabilities building but also the university and the Industry as whole,” said Collymore.
The network added it hopes the Safaricom Telecommunications Lab will expose students at JKUAT to the experiences they are likely to face once they enter the job market.
The lab will consist of a TRAU (transcoding and rate adaptation unit), switches and a mobile switching centre as well as a base transceiver station, base station controller and a microwave link.
“The telecoms industry needs graduates who have developed the right skills before joining a workplace and this initiative will equip them with the necessary skills and competencies needed,” Collymore said.
According to JKUAT vice chancellor Mabel Imbuga, the initiative by the telecommunications giant will be instrumental in training and research for the undergraduate programme in telecommunications and information engineering.
“This laboratory will provide the much needed practical and research orientation to students and faculty and thus increase their competitiveness. This will make JKUAT the University of choice for aspiring telecoms professionals in East and Central Africa,” he said.
The initiative is part of a five year partnership between the two organisations which began in December 2008 and is meant to enhance development through research, training and innovation in the areas of ICT.
Safaricom was also involved in the development of the Bachelor of Science in telecommunication and information engineering course.
JKUAT currently has more than 200 undergraduate students on the course.