JKUAT, UoN and Laikipia University have had their names written on the global arena following a win by their students in the just concluded 2020 Huawei Global Competition.
At the award ceremony held in Nairobi last week, JKUAT student Evans Kiprotich, taking Telecommunication and Information Engineering and his team were declared the best globally. The young lad was leader in the same team with Muluki Muthusi and Kipyegon Evans from University of Nairobi and Laikipia University respectively.
Clinching the third place was JKUAT’s team Mazingira, under the Innovation track, with Michael Obwayo, Lydia Gathoni, and Dianarose Nasipwonyi flying the University flag high. The students were under the tutelage and mentorship of Mr. Philip Oyier, an ICT expert and Lecturer, Department of Information Technology, School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT).
Principal Secretary, University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi, who presided over the ceremony, congratulated the students and lecturers for winning the awards and representing Kenya exemplarily at the international level. He further thanked Huawei for its commitment and support in building capacity among Kenyan students and institutions in the area of ICT, a move he added, will go a long way to create jobs and spur digital solutions.
“The ICT Competition is a unique contribution that the private sector can provide which significantly enhances the quality of our ICT education. We recognize the need for different formats that are practical and hands-on to complement the theory,” Nabukwesi observed.
Huawei has and continues to invest heavily in nurturing local ICT talent to compete equally with counterparts across the globe. This, is in addition to growing the local ICT talent ecosystem, strengthening capacity building and increasing people’s digital competence.
In the 2020 edition of Huawei Seeds for the Future programme, JKUAT students formed a third of the students who were selected to the competitive and prestigious programme.
Further, the University is among the key institutions of higher learning that Huawei has partnered with in Africa to drive the digital inclusion agenda, in its efforts to bridge the digital divide reaching over 5000 students and 100 lectures since 2018.
Mr. Frank Yang, Vice President of Huawei Southern Africa Region noted that synergies with academic partners are key and have contributed to Huawei broadening its areas of collaboration.
“Huawei has played an important role in the development of ICT Talent in these countries for many years now, and we are seeing the efforts from us, as well as from governments and other partners paying off. Investing in education is not only our social responsibility, but also our business priority to help grow the ICT sector and to help grow the economies of the countries in which we work,” he said.
The 2019-2020 ICT Competition received over 6,400 student applications globally, out of which 100 students proceeded to the national finals, later five teams proceeded to the regional finals and ultimately 3 teams represented Kenya at the global finals.
The Innovation Competition content included knowledge of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data with the aim to examine the innovative design and collaborative development capabilities of the participants.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Robert Kinyua, who represented the Vice Chancellor at the ceremony, expressed optimism for the future of learning, noting that COVID-19 has accelerated the pace and adoption of technological advancement.
“With strategic partners such as Huawei, we have made significant steps as a University when it comes to training our students holistically, and preparing them not just for the job market but also as entrepreneurial changemakers. Technology has now become invaluable in the academic landscape and I hope this gives all learning institutions the impetus to move towards technological adoption and integration in all their processes,” he stated.
According to Mr. Philip Oyier, who mentored Team Mazingira, the winners not only exemplified the highest quality training and preparation but also demonstrated overall outstanding performance amidst the challenges brought about by the pandemic in both the practice and innovation competition.
“In many ways, 2020 was an unprecedented year, and to see our students rise to the occasion and shine on a global stage is a clear demonstration of their resilience and the quality of training they undergo at the University. I’m extremely proud of them,” he added.