Microsoft ADC (Africa Development Centre) has announced a partnership with Kenyan technology universities to review their curriculums and make them more relevant to industry needs. This is part of the centre’s efforts to ramp up its digital skilling efforts in the country.

As part of the programme, the ADC has partnered with the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) review its Computer Science degree programme. The curriculum review programme will also be extended to other universities that have expressed interest.

This is part of the ADC’s agenda to contribute to the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa, which aims to harness digital technologies and innovation to transform African societies and economies by 2030. The initiative also aims to address identified skill gaps in software engineering students during technical interviews, particularly in software engineering fundamentals. It also fits into the Kenyan government’s Digital Superhighway plan, which aims to put the country on the path to becoming the world’s digital workforce.

“The ADC is running multiple initiatives to improve the tech talent pipeline starting from primary school all the way to working to improve the skills of practicing professionals. As part of the skilling drive, the ADC is looking to improve tech-based curricular within local institutions of higher learning so as to reduce the skills gap between classrooms and the workplace,” says Irene Githinji, the ADC’s Student & Education Engagement Program Manager.

“Students pursuing STEM related courses will benefit from the new curriculum because they will have access to updated resources, courses, and assessments. Additionally, updated curriculums with industry input will help students gain hands-on tech skills that will be useful throughout their tech careers,” adds Githinji.

The curriculum review partnership is not a first for the Microsoft and JKUAT as noted by Dr. Michael Kimwele, Director, School of Computing and Information Technology at JKUAT.
“Our collaboration with Microsoft has, over the years, helped to develop potential career pathways for students and enabled the institution to access more teaching resources. We have received industry feedback and guidance on our curriculum which has helped us to improve our teaching methods and content. The collaboration has also exposed our students to real-time industry jobs. For example, many students involved in incubator projects are often offered a role within the company after their graduation since they have had time to adjust to the company culture,” says Dr. Kimwele.

The Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa aims to provide a massive online e-skills development program to 100 million Africans per year by 2021, and 300 million per year by 2025. It aims to provide basic knowledge and skills in digital security and privacy.

Microsoft launched the Africa Development Centre (ADC) in 2019 with an initial site within Microsoft offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre’s goal is to attract world-class African engineering talent to create innovative solutions spanning the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Since its inception in Nairobi in 2019, the ADC has grown to over 500 full-time employees working in areas such as software engineering, machine learning, data science, market research, infrastructure, and much more.