The shortage of IT experts is a global challenge. While in Europe there is a shortage of IT professionals, in Africa there is a high number of IT graduates whose knowledge and skills are limited due to poor quality of education. Upon the agreement signed today in Kampala, Uganda, ESTDEV supports the Ugandan information technology (IT) training institution, Refactory, in improving the quality of its IT training. Estonian IT training flagship, kood/ Jõhvi, will mentor Refactory in upgrading their study programme.
Africa trains an average of 2.2 million ICT professionals annually. Although the demand for IT skills is higher than ever, the level and skills of university graduates are too limited to compete in the labor market.
“The low quality of IT education is often due to the lack of exposure of teaching staff to the application of recent technologies and teaching methods. In this, we can support Uganda, a priority partner country for Estonia,” said Kristel Rillo, program manager of ESTDEV.
Uganda’s Ministry of IT and Ministry of Education requested ESTDEV’s help in reforming IT in-service training in Uganda. At the invitation of ESTDEV, kood/Jõhvi, Estonia’s most innovative IT training institution, will advise this project. The partner on the Ugandan side is the local IT training provider, Refactory, whose activities have been recognized by the Ugandan Ministry of IT and which has a close cooperation network among Ugandan universities and employers.
“Collaboration with Refactory and ESTDEV will allow us to share Estonian IT expertise, including those of kood/Jõhvi, and show the world how we teach IT,” said Karin Künnapas, Head of kood/Jõhvi. “Together with our students and partners, we focus on teaching competitive IT skills, which will create a favorable environment for the people of Uganda entering the job market.”
The goal of the cooperation project is to advance the Refactory’s training program and offer the young people participating in the project support and mentoring from Estonian experts in learning about the general trends of the international IT market, as well as to develop ICT-related skills.
“Through the project, ESTDEV contributes to the growth of local IT expertise that meets the requirements of the labor market. In addition, this project will nurture relationships with local organisations, leading to the implementation of future cooperation projects in East Africa,” explained Katrin Winter, ESTDEV’s East Africa advisor.
Winter added that the project allows for the expansion of mentoring and training outside the Refactory training program as well.
“In Estonia, we are already used to the fact that in order to adequately link the educational offer and the needs of the labor market, we must constantly deal with the issue, including supporting teachers and teaching staff in their professional development. The IT field is highly motivated and a favorable ground for the introduction of good practices. By helping to grow a competitive ICT workforce for Uganda and thus the ICT sector, we are creating opportunities for Ugandan people to work remotely – for example, to work for European employers without leaving Uganda,” added Kristel Rillo.
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ESTDEV is a state foundation that organises and coordinates Estonia’s participation in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid programs with the aim of increasing Estonia’s contribution to global security and sustainable development.