Skilling Africa’s youth for the future – Business Daily
According to the 2021 global survey done by Stackoverflow among software developers across the world, there is a growing number of developers with no university degrees who have instead focused on acquiring software development skills.
The survey also indicates that 53 percent of developers wrote their first lines of code between the ages of 11-17 years. In Kenya, we need to ask ourselves what path we are we creating for this young and curious demographic in our market.
Unfortunately, in Kenya, most software development skills are primarily acquired at the university level, but hundreds of thousands of young people each year miss out on admission to institutions of higher learning. What becomes of them?
For example, out of 747,161 candidates who sat the 2020/2021 Kenya Secondary Certificate of Education (KCSE) examinations, only 122,831 were allotted to universities through the Kenya University and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) and 88,724 were assigned to technical colleges.
Although this year’s university placement statistics have yet to be released, the gap is likely to be even wider because the number of candidates was just under 830,000, while university and technical institution spaces have barely increased.
That being said, and with digital skills becoming increasingly important in the workplace and in business, young people who do not make it to join universities or colleges and have an interest in developing coding skills, can take advantage of the numerous platforms that have been made available by entities such as Microsoft to acquire the needed skills.
Encouragingly, some initiatives are already reaching out to schools to provide their students with the skills needed to succeed in the workplace. Microsoft, for example, has collaborated closely with both the government and the private sector to improve access to digital skills training across Africa.
The initiatives range from coding classes for young children, teaching basic computer skills to underprivileged individuals to highly technical learning opportunities like the Game of Learners, which helps university students fine-tune their skills by building real-world solutions under the tutelage of industry professionals.
Through the Africa Transformation Office, Microsoft is looking to invest in the future of 30 million young people by providing digital skills to students, developers, start-ups, SMEs and underserved communities.