Category Archives: career development

Rewiring Education

This week, the M-Pesa Foundation Academy and Nairobi International School hosted author John Couch, who was first Vice President of Apple Inc., for a talk session on “rewiring education.” The chief guest was Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Joe Mucheru. 

Rewiring Education speakers.

Excerpts from the rewiring education Q&A: 

  • Kids come into employment fully trained in things that are no longer relevant. They then have to unlearn that, and we are working with universities to modernize the curriculum.
  • Schools have to hire teachers who are registered with the Teachers Service Commission. But those who are there only have B.Ed (Bachelor of Education degrees), and lack skills to stand in front of students who are far ahead of them in technical knowledge.
  • The Kenya government has developed a brilliant curriculum, that will start next year, but teachers have not been trained to deliver this. International schools take three years to retrain a teacher.
  • The median age in Kenya is 19 years, and half the civil service is made up of teachers.
  • The most important skill to have in life is (to embrace) continuous learning.
  • Schools can currently evaluate student memorization, but not their creativity and innovation abilities.
  • “When I was studying at Berkeley, California in the 1970’s, people thought the social revolution was taking place in the streets, but I knew it was taking place inside computers.”
  • Safaricom set out to provide connectivity to all schools in Kenya and the government was to provide the devices.
  • “The way we are teaching kids is a disservice and I am in the process of suing the UK government for wasting thirteen years of my life!”
  • The US also treats teachers as a union problem, not a professional occupation. Teachers are underpaid and under-trained.

Africa Digital Media Institute – ADMI Celebrates 5th Anniversary

This week the Africa Digital Media Institute (ADMI) celebrated its fifth anniversary. Founded in 2012 as the Jamhuri Film and Television Academy, by Wilfred Kiumi, it has gone from having 5 students to over 500 now and is well on its way to becoming Kenya’s premier film and media training school that will soon expand to Nigeria and Ghana.

via: ADMI facebook.

The school has expanded beyond film and TV production to include film & TV production, software engineering & design, digital marketing, sound engineering, music production, multimedia, animation, photography and graphic design

Founding Director Kiumi said young creatives took a long time to get international gigs and the gap is yet to be filled and this was why ADMI exists, and later, Director Laila Macharia said ADMI runs its programs to global standards, offering practical digital education so that students are earning incomes even before they graduate.

ADMI has a non-profit arm that works to help needy and deserving students with scholarships and in other ways. Now,  partners, studios, schools and other well-wishers can contribute to help even more students to get valuable training at ADMI.

ALU: Africa’s University of the Future

The African Leadership University (ALU) is a pan-African university, which  aims to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist today. Their programs aim to equip students  with necessary skills including entrepreneurship, leadership, critical thinking, and project management – right from their first term. They have an intense online engagement process to monitor student performance that starts right from the time students apply and  through admissions, assignments, courses, exams and assignments.

Their current degrees on offer at their Mauritius campus are Computing (Bsc), Business Management (BA), Social Sciences (BA) and Psychology (Bsc) . It opened in September 2015, and has over 200 students from over 30 African countries.  Every year, students can get up to 4  months of internship at one of the ALU partner organizations which include Cellulant, Coca Cola, McKinsey, Tiger, IBM, PWC, Thomson Reuters,  Pernod Ricard and Swiss Re. The partners also help subsidize the cost of education at ALU where year of tuition and accommodation is about $,7000 – a modest amount compared to the cost of university education in many countries.

They also have a study abroad program that takes 4-12 months and ALU will have an MBA program at a new campus that will soon open in Rwanda, and for which they are already accepting applications. ALU is part of the Africa Leadership Group, and has founders including Fred Swaniker, Graca Machel and Donald Kaberuka. Eventually, they plan to have  25 campuses across Africa that can host 10,000 students a year.

ALU teams are currently on road shows to promote the university in Accra, Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Lagos. They have a workshops, schools visits, and other events this month as they promote the university, and they are accepting applications up to a deadline on June 5.

Celebrating African Success

There was a dinner last week in Nairobi to toast James Mwangi the CEO of Equity Bank who won the second edition of the Forbes Africa Person of the year award (edging out President Joyce Banda of Malawi, Stephen Saad, Aliko Dangote & Tony Elumelu. In capping off this award-winning year for him, he spoke about the need for Africans, and particularly Kenyans to celebrate wealth and success not to be shy & hide about it.

Forbes cover

This has been something that Ory (@kenyanpundit) has spoken of in the past and a reason that there are few interesting award events to attend – as you keep seeing the same people & companies over and over being feted or speaking at events over and over  –as if they are the only entrepreneurs in town. Yet it if you look at the construction that the construction that’s changing Nairobi from Westlands to Eastlands, with new office towers, hotels, and residential estates, this is all private sector development largely done by anonymous entrepreneurs using vague company names.

You will see a few other magazines like Management, Business Post, CIO, or some local TV shows profile a few new entrepreneurs and CEO’s but nothing like the Forbes List.

The Forbes list of Richest Africans itself may be controversial  – in the region Kenya had Naushad Merali, Tanzania has Salim Bakhresa, and Uganda had Sudhir Ruparelia, and dropping off from last year’s list were Uhuru Kenyatta, Chris Kirubi, Mohamed Al Fayed and Strive Masiyiwa.

For various reasons – modesty, not wanting your rivals to know what you’re up to, fear of revealing secrets and business interests to creditors, or even family members, some entrepreneurs are shy about celebrating their success in public or with the media. But perhaps, the biggest reason for a successful entrepreneur to keep a low profile is because the tax collectors at the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) are also avid readers and viewers – and a high profile celebration, with dollar figures attached, is likely to be followed by a friendly visit by tax agents.

Is Social Media a Career?

There have been a few jobs advertised of late for social media positions including at diverse companies like the Kenya Airports Authority, Nation Media Group and now Squad Digital (for Rwanda). 

But there’s more to these jobs than just being on Facebook or Twitter, and ultimately they are about communications – being aware & monitoring of what’s being said or written, then communicating a company position to the public, communicating product features, changes  & news, or communicating with customers in customer service – and to communicate properly, entails an understanding of media, marketing, campaigns, product cycles, consumer behaviour etc. This  Citizen news piece gives a behind the scenes look at the currently widely-acknowledged corporate leader in social media engagement – Safaricom.
Not all companies are ready for social media, nor should they all be online – and while the current mediums are blogs, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, they may next be on others such as G+, Whive or Mxit, having come from engaging on company websites and email. But ultimately, it’s about communications, not social media, and as @kaboro said – if all you know is Facebook & twitter, you’ll be out of a job before long.