Rwanda: New ICT Academy Targets Software Development
April 10, 2012 – New Times
By Gertrude Majyambere
A new ICT academy has opened in Kigali aiming to bridge the gap between unemployed educated youth and market driven information technology needs. The NetHope Academy last week launched a boot camp with 40 fresh graduates already undergoing training in technical skills like Microsoft certification. Students are trained in Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) and Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Cisco Networking Fundamentals. The training is conducted by trainers from Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCT). The academy targets to train 100 students annually with training conducted for two weeks with on-job mentoring for four to six months.
Kevin Bajeneza NetHope, the Programme Director in Rwanda said they received 200 applications that went through a rigorous selection and interview exercise and only the best 40 were selected to benefit from the inaugural training programme. “The NGO will continue to mentor students and this will boost the fast-growing information communications technology (ICT) industry that still faces difficulties in hiring skilled staff,” Bajeneza said in an interview.
Traditionally, the programme provided Cisco MTA and MCTS certifications that cost an individual a tuition fee of $800. After the training, students are placed in different institutions for internship for a period of four to six months. “Through different surveys, it has been identified that there is lack of skilled staff, particularly with high-end technical skills in IT,” she noted. She added; “There is less practical skills among a pool of fresh graduates and this will provide them with hands on skills.”
The training is expected to also create an impact on the national economy through earnings in ICR and BPO (business process outsourcing). Students are also equipped with other skills like customer care services, communication, managing self at workplace and precision question and answering. “Skills gained build confidence and in a period of one year, many will be entrepreneurs and creating an impact in the national economy,” she assured. RDB IT Deputy CEO, Patrick Nyirishema, said the initiative would increase employability of IT professionals and make the sector more competitive. Nyirishema said government through RDB has developed a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) strategy and was in the process of trying to attract investors in the sector. “BPO is a sector that we (government) want to develop and the prerequisite requirement is to have skills and we are working on it,” he said. He assured that the infrastructure like reliable internet connection is available adding that the government was already in touch with different companies to develop the BPO sector. “We are in touch with some companies, but it’s too early to mention the companies. You know the default answer for any investor is “Its okay.” but I know this is a promising sector,” Nyirishema stated.
NetHope is a US based NGO with offices in South Africa, Kenya Namibia, Ghana, Rwanda and Haiti with plans to open branches in South Sudan and Uganda soon.