http://www.cio.co.ke/news/top-stories/insipredme-campaign-aims-to-train,-certify-1-million-it-scholars-in-5-years by Lilian Mutegi via CIA East Africa
A major component of the campaign is the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship, which will take place in Dallas Texas, later in the year. The campaign targets youth aged 13 to 22 years old.
Microsoft Corporation, Head Education Business, Sub Saharan Region, Warren La Fleur – commended the move towards upping the IT skills of Kenya’s professionals stating: “It is relevant in that it can help address their goal of ensuring that students are career ready by providing 21st-century technology training and certification; it is innovate and keeps pace with global technology trends; and it is sustainable in that it provides a framework for long-term success to be globally competitive in matters ICT.”
The initiative dubbed InspiredMe is a multi-sectored collaboration between public and private sector actors that has birthed an ambitious, yet phenomenal program which it is expected will propel the lives of millions of young Kenyans towards more specialized fields in technology.
Tabarin Consulting, Managing Director, George Kiptalam – announced that Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development is a member of the Global Digital Literacy Council (GDLC), a group of experts from academia, government, and industry who determine the standard for training and certification in digital literacy. The GDLC is in the process of developing the Global Standard 5 (GS5) for digital literacy that comes into effect from 2016.
GEMS Cambridge International School, Principal, Anthony Millward – Here at GEMS we believe in blended learning styles where a variety of teaching methods and technology are combined to support interactive and engaging learning session between teachers and students. This may be in the form or structure formal ICT lessons or laptops and iPads in class and around school to support an inquiry approach for students. This allows them to become architects of their own learning and explore different mediums of capturing data, analyzing information and presenting their views on what they have learned. What is most exciting is that the evolving digitized world is progressing at such a pace, tomorrow’s dreams are todays reality and are quickly passed into yesterday obsolesce.
The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT echoed this when he said ‘the nature of acquiring knowledge is changing and, in this digital age, our definition of basic literacy urgently needs expanding. With an estimated 80 per cent of jobs in Europe for example requiring some level of IT competency, the notion of digital skills – those capabilities that equip an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society – is one that needs to be taken seriously by colleges and universities. Kenyan learning institutions have a responsibility to develop students into individuals who can thrive in an era of digital information and communication – those who are digitally literate are more likely to be economically secure.’
InspiredMe seeks to train scholars through the program’s components, which include; Microsoft IT Academies, Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship, IT Boot camps (Held during school holidays at GEMS Cambridge International School), GEMS Cambridge International School will give a Scholarships to top IT performers from disadvantaged backgrounds and Internship opportunities for certified scholars at leading institutions to give youth work experience.
It is apparent that for sustainable development to take place, both the public and private sectors need to complement each other. This consortium will see Certiport being the authenticator of the training that will be dispensed by Microsoft’s IT Academies. The Kenya National Library services will in the first phase make available 27 Library Centers around the country. The KNLS has recently made considerable investment’s to upgrade and equip its libraries with support from Microsoft. The aim is to have these libraries across the entire country, and so ensure every county participates in the programme.
With the first ever Kenyan chapter of Microsoft Office Specialist Championship set for May 29, 2015, aspiring scholars have 3 months to have their academic institutions enroll for a rousing competition season that will also see counties recognize their local champions in Microsoft Word 2010 & 2013, Microsoft Excel 2010 & 2013 or Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 & 2013.
The World Championship in Dallas, Texas will seek to recognize students who demonstrate a mastery of Microsoft Office products. For the first time, Kenya will have an opportunity to field four candidates to face more than 400,000 students from 130 countries across the globe that will participate in the competition.
The partners welcomed more institutions to join their consortium to ensure that the initiative is available to more Kenyan young scholars.