IT education done different – a private sector participation agenda

It has been argued in many forums that our education system churns out half-baked graduates who once absorbed into the job market require additional investment by way of training. This training is a gamble that many technology centric companies take with the risk that is often times realized, of the freshly minted trainee taking off, headhunted by those who ate not keen to invest in the refining process.  The technology lobby groups have been pushing for a tax benefit citing the continuous and expensive training that has to be done by invested firms to bring up to speed the human resource that is available in-country. That process is of course slow and time consuming and there is need to find a sustainable balance that will still be workable in the advent that the law will have provisions to compensate firms for value addition done to the benefit of their human resource.

One trend that I hope to see take root with more corporate and private sector participation is the setup of focused institutions of higher learning that are cognizant of granular industry requirements and provide training and certification along relevant high potential niches. As a proponent of specialization in the workplace, I believe that human resource should be focused on particulars tasks that require specific skillsets to lock down on quality, efficiency and to achieve a scalable and replicable production process. An example of where this has worked with success is the airline industry that in the past has recruited straight from high school with a deep dive into intense training that saw both trainee and enterprise benefit greatly.

You may argue that our universities already address this on some level by having schools dedicated to diverse fields such as business and commerce, technology, architecture, medicine and the like. That is not in dispute, but my call is for a more refined and market aware process of education that will offer exportable value and long-term career or entrepreneurship prospects.

What if industry players collated their annual human resource needs and based on this aggregate, they invested directly in the curriculum and partnered with or even started their own focused institutions of higher learning?  What if the process guaranteed a certain level of education quality to assure an 85 percent employability rate with shorter timelines?  The demand is there but disjointed effort is costly. Both government and private sector have a human resource gap in the core skills that we need to fully exploit the knowledge economy from cyber security specialists, hardware gurus, software mavericks to the business minds that figure out sustainability.

If we can reimagine the process, we will all benefit from the quality and quantity output plus the greenfield opportunities that will open up simply from having the capacity.

An Africa based entrepreneur in the pursuit of opportunities without regard to resources currently controlled striving to build services that have real-world value for my beloved continent and beyond while having fun along the way.
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