The call was made on Wednesday during discussions bringing together relevant institutions with duties to promote ICT. The discussions aimed at seeking together required competences at the labor market and how Higher Learning Institutions and Universities can contribute to imparting necessary knowledge and skills.
They were organized by International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL Africa) in collaboration with the University of Tourism and Business (UTB) where it was observed that many schools equip students with basic ICT skills not matching international standards or not trained enough to qualify for certificates.
It was also observed that many Higher Learning Institutions and Universities in Rwanda have no intense programs enhancing the use of ICT except UTB which has introduced ICDL on its curricula.
The Vice Chancellor of UTB, Dr Callixte Kabera explained that through that partnership with ICDL Africa, the university pledged to equip all students will be trained under ICDL programs before completing studies and receive certificates. Over 1600 graduates were also given ICDL certificates last year.
The Government of Rwanda has committed to build knowledge based economy through the advancement of technology in different sectors enhancing ICT skills.
“ UTB as a Higher Learning Institution committed to work day and night to support this policy and imparting other necessary ICT skills at the labor market. We polish students’ labor market competencies in collaboration with other partners,” said Dr. Kabera.
He highlighted that ICT skills are not only needed by students but also all Rwandans to move forward the Government’s initiatives to leverage services delivery on ICT by 2024.
Lambert Ntagwabira, an expert from the Ministry of Technology and Innovation said that the survey conducted among public servants excluding soldiers and teachers indicated that over 85,000 need intensive training on ICT yet only 2000 of them were trained by ICDL in collaboration with Rwanda Management Institute (RMI).
“The gap lies in the arrangement of programs and requirements at the labor market where a newly recruited employee starts with training for skills he/she should have acquired before,” he said.
Ntagwabira explained that the Government has set different initiatives meant to bridge the gap through agreements held with ICDL to train public servants additional to expected policy to recommend Higher Learning Institutions and Universities to establish ICDL centers.
The coordinator at Rwanda Information Society Authority (RISA), Asiimwe Innocent said that only 8% of Rwandans have ICT skills. He however stressed that there are different initiatives to boost the number including ‘Intore mu ikoranabuhanga’ aimed at imparting ICT skills to different people from across the country targeting to train 5 million people within five years.
“We are discussing how technology can be taught at primary schools so that a child will further ICT skills from the grassroots education enabling competencies at the labor market because figures show gaps in ICT skills among job recruits,” he said.
Different stakeholders who took part of the discussions hailed UTB for introducing ICDL programs and draw recommendations of increasing partnerships between schools and famous tech firms, investing in the advancement of technology, increasing the number of experts and creating more ICT related jobs among others.