The students were accompanied by Dr Helmut Blumbach the Director of the DAAD. Speaking during the opening ceremony at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Dr Blumbach assured participants that DAAD would continue to contribute towards the development of higher education in Africa.
He reiterated that the academy-industry linkage is more critical today than ever before, and that it is imperative for industries to build on a growing pool of academic talent that exists in institutions of higher learning in order to solve ‘real-world’ challenges in an effective and efficient way.
Other participants were drawn from the University of Flensburg in Germany, the Institute of Technology and Management in Cameroon, as well as
Mekelle University in Ethiopia. The week-long Spring School saw participants engaging in workshops, going on excursions to Kenya’s leading companies such as Kengen Geo-thermal Station, DHL, Safaricom, the biggest mobile network company and the Huduma Government Data Centre.
According to Alexia Amakali, a NUST participant, the Spring School was an eye- opener for her and her fellow students. They observe how companies put theory into practice and also how cultural diversity is not an impediment when it comes to networking.
The Spring School served a great purpose in appreciating how ICTs are used by governments in rolling out services to citizens, as well as how businesses are transformed by ICTs. Kenya is a leading African nation when it comes to e-governance and boasts many technology companies.
The highlight of the Spring School was the workshop on smart universities, which was designed in such a way that the students were able to mingle easily and to maximise on an excellent learning opportunity.