A multimillion shillings Mini GSM network telecommunications laboratory that is set to strengthen training and research in telecommunications and information engineering in the region was commissioned at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Thursday, August 15, 2013. The facility donated by Safaricom Limited is the first of its kind in East and Central Africa, fostering JKUAT’s preeminence in telecommunications training and research in the region.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga thanked Safaricom for the donation, adding that the voice and data service provider was equally instrumental in the review of JKUAT’s BSc. Programme in Telecommunications and Information Engineering.
“Safaricom injected new developments in mobile, fiber optics and satellite communications technologies into the programme, making it more competitive, attracting students with top cut off points in Kenya’s public universities,” reiterated Prof. Imbuga.
Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore noted that the Laboratory will transform the way Telecoms practical training is offered at the University, impacting students’ knowledge and capacity building, the university and the Industry as whole.
“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,” said Collymore.
The Safaricom CEO further urged universities to proactively engage the industry to tap resident knowledge, and make their academic programmes more industry driven.
JKUAT Council Chair, Dr. Ekuru Aukot reckoned that the gesture by Safaricom enhanced the institution’s objectives aimed at transforming JKUAT from a teaching to a research-based and entrepreneurial University.
“I urge the industry in Kenya to emulate Safaricom and support our local universities in similar enterprises through public private partnership initiatives,” added Dr. Aukot.
The Mini GSM network will enable students to initiate and terminate a phone call, enable data transfer and other services for academic purposes, thus preparing them adequately for a career in telecommunications engineering.
JKUAT and Safaricom formalized collaboration in 2008, an initiative that has seen the two institutions mount staff and student exchange programmes including internships. The equipment will foster the training of Telecommunications and Information engineers at JKUAT, increasing their competitiveness, both locally and globally.
The pioneer students under the curriculum jointly reviewed with Safaricom and other stakeholders are slated to complete the five-year programme at the fall of 2012, and graduate early 2014.