ASK any college or university student in his or final year what plans they have for the future and they would probably tell you that they have not figured out anything yet.
Such is how limited opportunities are in the job market out there to the point it has become prevalent for students in higher learning institutions to be equipped with entrepreneurial skills to help them seek self-employment after graduation.
Not a bad idea, especially for students pursuing studies, and later careers, in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). But is that approach alone enough to ensure that creative minds do not go to waste after years of learning and training?
This is why Huawei Tanzania in its second phase of Seeds for the future program has again selected 10 students; eight from the University of Dodoma (UDOM) and two from the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) to visit China and work out of the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen.
The second phase of Huawei’s Seeds for the future program was recently launched in Dodoma whereas the first phase had also 10 students who got a chance to visit China and work out of the company’s headquarters for two weeks.
Speaking during the launch of the second phase of Huawei’s seeds for the future program in Dodoma recently, Huawei Managing Director, Gao Mengdong, said the program is the company’s global corporate social responsibility (CSR) flagship program through which the company has put plans to ensure that at least 100 students from Tanzania participate in the 10 year project.
“This means each year 10 students from Tanzania will have an opportunity to visit Beijing and work out of the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China,” he said.
Over the course of the program, he said, Huawei shares its ICT expertise and experience in managing young ICT professionals, and help fuel the development of local ICT field.
“Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become a crucial growth engine for many developed countries. As an ICT leader, Huawei is committed to promoting ICT industry development in Tanzania, with the aim to drive long-term economic, social, and environmental sustainability,” Mengdong added.
He noted that the program seeks to close the gap between knowledge learned in the classroom and the skills required by the industry and enhance knowledge transfer.
But the benefits of Huawei’s ICT program will not only benefit the students as individuals but will spread far and wide It should be remembered that President John Magufuli made clear his vision for the nation’s economic development shortly after being sworn in to the highest office of the land.
Dr Magufuli said his administration intends to transform the country into a semiindustrialized middle income economy come 2025.
“Industrialization will be the most important agenda of the government with manufacturing industry accounting for 40 per cent of all new jobs in 2020,” he was quoted as telling the National Assembly in the designated capital of Dodoma.
It might have seemed like a tall order then but the country is inching towards realizing that goal, and with programs such as the one implemented by Huawei, all is not going to be lost after all.
ICT has important role in speeding up the country development as its applications in sustainable socioeconomic activities through the e-government, e-learning, e-health, e-commerce just to mention a few simplifies work and increase efficiency in government and privately owned organizations.
Bidding farewell to the 10 students who are supposed to leave for China on 28th July this year, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Dr. Leonard Akwilapo, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, hailed Huawei’s support to the government in ICT development.
The PS noted that the government is working to reform the ICT field through various projects and that has been an important partner and has been continuously supporting the government towards that goal.
“I would like to thank Huawei for having such initiatives, and for introducing the Seeds for the Future programme to Tanzanian students. I assure that the Ministry of Education will continue to cooperate with Huawei, because we realised that ICT is very important for even supporting education,” she said.
During the same occasion, the government and Huawei also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement Huawei’s ICT Talents cultivating plan that will benefit young professionals, government officials and lecturers.
The ambitious MoU outlines four programs implementing various e-education technologies designed to improve the standards of education and learning for ICT’s students.
Specifically, the partnership will see Huawei develop training centres and establishment of virtual classrooms at Huawei Tanzanian offices. “Through this MoU we signed today, we will establish Huawei Tanzania ICT Academy, Huawei Tanzania Customer Solution Integration & Innovation Experience Centre (CSIC) Public Class.
In addition to that, we will also provide learning opportunities to the ICT students to attend internship at Huawei Tanzania office that will enable students to learn, conduct researches and develop their ICT skills,” Mengdong said.
Apart from this, Huawei also reiterated its commitment to extend its cooperation with the government on the implementation of e-education project saying that this partnership would offer a huge contribution to Tanzania’s education sector and ICT development so as to help Tanzania achieve its 2025 Development Vision.
One of the students selected to attend the program, Ms Khadija Mohammed commended Huawei for cultivating ICT talents for Tanzania, and being a responsible corporate citizen.
She said Huawei has been an important partner in Tanzania’s ICT development and has been continuously supporting the government of Tanzania in ICT innovation as the government works to reform the ICT field through various projects.
“It’s our hope that the government of Tanzania will utilise this opportunity provided by Huawei and we also believe through ‘Seeds for the Future’ program we will learn a lot from Huawei Tanzania,” she said.
In 2008, Huawei launched the program to nurture professionals who are urgently needed to drive the development of the ICT industry in countries where the company operates.
Up to June 30 this year the programme has been deployed in over 10 African countries including; - Kenya, Nigeria, Angola, Namibia, Ghana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Uganda, Mozambique and DR Congo.