July 16, 2013 – Nairobi, Kenya: IBM experts have recommended strategies for improving the viability of vocational-technical education in Kenya, as well as for making health services more effective.
The 12-person IBM team hailing from six countries that proposed the plans had spent the previous 30 days in Kenya meeting with the public, private and not for profit sectors as part of an IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) engagement. This initiative sends IBM's top talent to provide pro bono consulting services to non-governmental, local government and small business groups in the developing world on issues that intersect business, technology and society.
The blueprint for better education and job preparedness was presented to the Kenyan Ministry of Youth and Sports. It suggested ways for Youth Polytechnic centers to enhance their revenue and demand for their certifications. Enrollment is particularly poor in rural communities because of pregnancies, poverty and a transient lifestyle that disrupt studies.
IBM suggested that Youth Polytechnics should consider creating flexible programs of varying lengths that give trainees credit that can be shared between Kenya’s different educational institutions. To facilitate lifelong learning and make it easier for students to obtain degrees, credits should be counted toward future programs and degrees when former students have more time and resources.
The team also encouraged the inclusion of local businesses in the Youth Polytechnic’s activities. Their expertise can ensure that the skills taught are more practical and in-demand, as well as provide a ready market for graduates.
“As Kenya’s economy grows, we will require a steady stream of dynamic and sophisticated skills to drive the emerging culture of innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Dinah Mwinzi, Director Youth Training, Ministry of Education Science & Technology. “This initiative by the IBM experts will assist us in achieving our long and midterm goals under Vision 2030 of employment creation for youth.”
Some IBM team members worked with the Kenya Institute for Curriculum Design (KICD), where they developed a framework to identify and forge global partnerships to provide financing and the sharing of successful practices.
For the Division of Reproductive Health within Kenya's Ministry of Health (MoH), the IBMers built on a cancer screening framework that a previous IBM team developed in 2012. MoH was encouraged to improve the way it gathers, shares and analyses data that can build cancer awareness, increase technology adoption and improve resource training.
The projects were coordinated with Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Digital Opportunity Trust.
“As we mark the 5th anniversary of IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, we are pleased to continue supporting the Kenyan Government in achieving its critical development goals particularly around empowering the youth to lead the country’s social and economic development,” said IBM Country General Manager, Tony Mwai.
The initiatives of the 7th IBM CSC in Kenya follows the launch of the latest IBM Corporate Responsibility Report last week, which outlines social responsibility programs aligned with the company's Smarter Planet strategy to protect the environment, strengthen education and economic development, enable humanitarian research and improve the quality of life in cities around the world.
IBM's Corporate Service Corps deploys IBM employees from around the world with expertise in technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, human resources, law, and economic development. Issues they address range from economic development, energy and transportation, to education and health care.
By year's end, approximately 2,400 IBM employees based in 52 countries will have been dispatched on more than 187 Corporate Service Corps engagements, and undertaken 850 team assignments in 34 countries since the founding of the program five years ago, in 2008. Over the last five years, the program has sent more than 638 employees on 56 teams to 11 countries in Africa, a growing market for IBM.
Follow IBM's Corporate Service Corps by visiting http://www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/corporateservicecorps/, or on the CitizenIBM blog at www.citizenIBM.com and on Twitter, at @citizenIBM.
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