Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) students have formed a third of the 60 students who have been competitively accepted into the prestigious Huawei Seeds of the Future Programme, in its unique 2020 Edition.
The Seeds for the Future programme, Huawei’s flagship global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme was launched in Kenya in 2014 to develop local ICT talent, enhance knowledge sharing, and improve understanding of interest in the ICT industry.
While speaking at the virtual launch of the one-week programme, JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi attributed the high representation of JKUAT students in the programme to the commitment of the institution to quality training of ICT and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses. She also underscored the significance of the University having strategic industry partners, Huawei being one of them, in ensuring students are holistically trained and prepared for the corporate world.
“Programmes such as these are particularly important and relevant during this time when the entire world is dealing with Covid-19 pandemic. Digital technologies are very useful in helping to identify emerging skills needs, evolving demands and potential skills gaps by providing real time intelligence,” she added.
The University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Huawei in September 2018 to become a Huawei ICT Academy, and renewed it in May 2020 to further extend the engagement. The continued partnership has seen students in ICT and STEM courses participate in various Huawei programmes and events, with over 1000 registering for the Huawei Global ICT Skills Competition in 2020.
Themed ‘Let’s Sow the Seeds of Hope Together’, this will be the first time the Huawei Seeds for the Future programme will be held virtually due to COVID-19, with the participating students set to learn about the latest technology such as 5G, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence as well as leadership skills and Chinese culture.
Today’s opening ceremony was also addressed by the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs Mr. Joe Mucheru, the Ambassador of China to Kenya, Mr. Zhou Ping Jian, and the CEO of Huawei Kenya, Mr. Will Meng.
In another development, the Vice Chancellor officiated the official opening ceremony of the African Conference on Software Engineering workshop 2020. During the function, Prof. Ngumi pledged to continue supporting software engineering projects that will revolutionize countries as they pursue their development goals in engineering, health, agriculture, industry, energy, natural resource management, among others.
She underscored the significance of software engineering to the community noting that the field has realized exponential growth in digital sectors, and the rise of the model of digital economy through life-changing innovations such as artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning, block chain and the Internet of Things.
The two-day virtual conference (September 16-17, 2020) is aimed at increasing the participation of researchers from Africa in international computer science and software engineering community (CS/SE) while also creating a platform for exchanging ideas on the role of CS/SE in socio-economic development of Africa.
The conference which attracted over 380 local and international participants was jointly organized by JKUAT’s School of Computing and Information Technology, Makerere University, University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. The initiative was supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation.