Chinese telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics manufacturer, Huawei, has Tuesday launched an ICT Academy at Makerere University in a bid to bridge the skilling gap between universities and the corporate world, by offering hands-on training to students.
The launch held at the Makerere main campus saw Huawei sign an MOU with Makerere to introduce the ICT Academy in Uganda.
The Huawei ICT Academy is a non-commercial cooperation project between Huawei and universities, colleges and other educational institutions
The initiative seeks to cultivate and pool together ICT professionals that are crucial to industry development under the ‘Seeds for the Future’ program.
In 2015 Huawei launched an ICT students competition and by 2018, it had managed to reach 30,000 students in 200 institutions across 11 countries including Uganda.
The Huawei ICT Academy which will be housed at Makerere College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) has already received equipment worth USD 30,000 from Huawei Uganda in addition to an annual pledge of USD 15,000 for capacity building.
In Uganda, Huawei is looking to train and equip 1,000 Ugandan students in two years at no cost.
The Certifications will include: Huawei Certification of Experts, Professionals and Associates in Routing and Switch, WLAN, Security, SDN, Transmission, Acess, LTE, big data, data center, storage, cloud, IOT among others.
Speaking at the launch on Tuesday, the Minister for ICT, Frank Tumwebaze welcomed the initiative of establishing an ICT skilling academy at Makerere.
He emphasized that the issue of unemployment will not only be tackled by talking about it.
He said that day-to-day problems present opportunities for innovators, urging them to create solutions and take them to the market place.
“To earn from your skills, you must innovate for the market. Don’t innovate for the laboratory and expos. Consider any innovation that does not attract demand from the market dead,” he added.
“You are not producing children to all be ICT ministers, the answer is innovation, when you are skilled to innovate, that enables you to earn”.
On his part, Chen Huixin, who is the Charge D ‘Affairs at the Chinese Embassy in Uganda congratulated Huawei upon the achievement of establishing an ICT skills academy in Uganda as well as the students who excelled in the Huawei ICT Competition and the 10 ‘Seeds for the Future’ participants.
“ICT has truly transformed our economy, creating jobs for people even in remote places. But this technological trend would never be possible if we did not skill students, professionals and entrepreneurs as China,” Huixin said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Alex Kakooza said; “Universities must impart skills, we are pleased that Huawei and Makerere University are embracing this. You are equiping the students and certifying them and i call that competence best training”.
Makerere University has been collaborating with Huawei since April 24, 2017 when the Seeds for the Future Program was launched.
According to Prof Tonny Oyana, the Principal of the College of Computing and Information Sciences said that other programs such as the Huawei ICT competition roadshow and presentation, HCNA Router and Switch boot camp have also furthered skilling of students.
He revealed that the College will gazette a resource centre for Huawei to let Huawei set up more equipment for the success of the Academy Project.
Over 1,000 students applied, 100 passed the first application and were invited for the boot camp and national exam where the top 10 students were selected.
On Tuesday, Huawei flagged off the top 10 students of the seeds for the future program of 2019 to Beijing, China (all expenses paid) where they will receive further skills training. Various Awards were also given to different winners in their respective positions. Out of these 5 students were from Makerere, 2 from Muni University, 1 from Lira university and 1 from Gulu university.
Huawei has cooperated with more than 300 universities around the world and educates more than 10,000 students every year.