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NAIROBI, KENYA: Certiport, the leading provider of certification exam development, delivery and program management services worldwide, in partnership with Microsoft, Kenya National Library Services, GEMS Cambridge International School and the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology Tuesday launched a campaign targeting over 1 Million young technology scholars in the next 5 years.

A major component of the campaign also known as InspiredMe  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 innovative 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 new initiative 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.

“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,” GEMS Cambridge International School, Principal, Anthony Millward 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,” said Fred Matiangi, the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT.

InspiredMe seeks to train scholars through the program’s components, which include;

  • Microsoft IT Academies – Institutions that will offer the training and testing for certification. KNLS centers will host members of the public whose academic institutions do not have IT the requisite infrastructure.
  • Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship; Kenya’s top 4 performers represent Kenya at the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship in Dallas Texas. This is the first year Kenya will participate at the championships.
  • 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
  • Internship opportunities for certified scholars at leading institutions to give youth work experience.

Impact Africa will manage the 5 year programme.