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Gov’t on course to digitize services, PS Ochieng

The Government has made strides in digitizing its programmes to make them available to all Kenyans across the country without the need for them to physically visit offices.

State department for ICT and Innovation Principal Secretary (PS), Jerome Ochieng said that some of the services are already online as the government is strategising on digitizing many others.

“We are focusing on digital government with the main objective of ensuring that we have as many government services as possible online,” Ochieng noted.

Speaking during the launch of Ajira Digital Clubs at Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology Friday, PS Ochieng said Kenya is in a good space of innovation driven by the country’s digital economy strategy, which focuses on five key pillars.

He called for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship by encouraging people to come up with innovations which can be supported by the government

“Kenya is the second in Africa in terms of digital jobs and the launch of Ajira Digital Clubs will move it to the first position,” he noted.

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) is among the pioneer public universities that took the initiative positively by establishing Ajira Digital Clubs for continuous programme rollout.

MMUST Ajira Club has over 650 members, with over 440 students fully trained and mentored on digital skills.

The PS urged students of the Ajira clubs to focus on the skills being offered for free by the government so that they can capitalise on the gig-economy opportunities worldwide.

Currently, close to 60 universities and 57 technical training institutions have implemented the Ajira Digital Program.

He said to support youth, the Ministry of ICT has partnered with the National Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) to establish Constituency Innovation hubs which are now known as Ajira Youth Empowerment Centres in each constituency.

“We currently have over 239 centres that are fully functional across the country. They are fully furnished with internet and furniture and youth can visit to access free services and benefit from the facilities,” he said.

Since the inception of Ajira Digital program in 2016, over 100 000 youths have been empowered through digital skills that have enabled them to earn a living.

PS Ochieng said the government has initiated several strategic programs that aim at promoting ICT knowhow highly required to thrive in this fourth industrial revolution.

The Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP) is one of them which is an internship programme that develops the ICT talent pool in Kenya through a collaboration between the public and private sectors.

He said, every year, 4,000 fresh graduates are given a chance to intern for 12 months within the government set up and the private sector to gain hands-on skills in readiness to enter the job market. So far 1,700 interns have benefited from PDTP who currently work in various organisations.

“The Ministry is also implementing the Digital Literacy Program (DLP), which aims to introduce our young children to ICT skills with the fundamental goal of exposing them to technology and empowering them,” he noted.

MMUST Vice Chancellor, Prof Solomon Shibairo, said the Ajira Digital Clubs will contribute in ICT skills transfer especially after Kakamega has been chosen as a test centre for the 5th Generation network (5G).

He urged the students to take advantage of the Ajira Digital clubs to embrace technological skills and start thinking about the rollout of even the 12th Generation (12G).

He says it is possible and that with such changing technology to advanced technologies, beneficiaries can address challenges facing the society.

By Moses Wekesa

 

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