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Digital educators champion STEM training

ENTERPRISE
By Brian George | August 18th 2021

One of the biggest concerns from human resource practitioners in recent years has been on “half baked” graduates hitting the job market. 

This has since prompted employers to form trainee programmes that serve as incubators for future staff and tailor them to meet an organisation’s expectations. 

With a booming technology space in Africa, the Kenyan front still faces challenges of under-tapped potential, with telling figures of just a handful of women operating in technology. 

A group of Kenyan innovators aren’t letting Kenya and by extension Africa miss out on the numerous opportunities the tech space presents, at least not when they can create a platform for tech enthusiasts, software developers, data scientists and more tech-based skills to learn and develop handy skills.

Launched just a year ago, JENGA school is an education technology (ed-tech) platform that provides professional skills development focused on bridging the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) talent gap in Africa. JENGA School is a subsidiary of Impact Africa Network (IAN), a company that establishes other tech-based companies.

Mark Karake, the founder and chief executive of Impact Africa (pictured above) said that his inspiration to come up with the ed-tech platform stemmed from the knowledge gap that exists in the market. He asserts that the indoctrination caused by the present education system blinds most people from the opportunities available in the tech space.

“We are so much into the traditional courses of being a doctor, engineer and lawyer that there is currently a huge gap and need for tech-based skills, yet the institutions cannot supply the demand. It is difficult to change people’s mindsets from what they are accustomed to, and so the best thing we are trying to do is create awareness on the STEM course and their benefits,” said Kareke.

JENGA school being a virtual platform brings together tutors, instructors and course lecturers from as far as Barcelona, and consults widely with established tech practitioners, albeit to the benefit of the student. The student portfolio spans a number of African countries.

“Since we launched, we have been able to give 42 students access to quality education. 12 have since graduated from JENGA school. 8 of them being women,” added Wendy Oluoch, JENGA School’s Marketing Manager.

Estimates show that there will be a deficit of 13 million STEM professionals by the year 2025. The rich world is also ageing which means their labour force is shrinking.

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