[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Cloud is transforming the education sector in Africa

In our last Africa cloud review column, we highlighted how cloud can help power smart cities in Africa. Cloud provides the digital infrastructure for smart cities: in other words, a city’s cloud will function as a storage and analysis system for the data used in everything.  

Other than smart cities, the education sector in Africa is also poised to benefit from cloud. 

In an interview with IT News Africa back in 2019, head of E-Learning at the University of Pretoria, Dolf Jordaan noted that the cloud is transforming teaching and learning as we know it, while fast-tracking education improvement from primary school to university. ‘’It allows educators the ability to collaborate on content, share information, and even asses projects,’’ he says.

Cloud computing helps students, teachers, and administrators alike. It allows students access to homework wherever there’s an internet connection, teachers to instantly upload learning materials, and administrators to easily collaborate with one another and save money on data storage. 

When the pandemic most African schools decided to take their learning online. Virtual learning finally became a reality. In Kenya, the government introduced a new digital learning model to 24,000 public schools so that virtual learning in Kenya is accessible to all children. Using cloud, schools were able to save money on licenses, hardware, power, and support. Additionally, schools were able to access online editions of textbooks which saved money and ensured students are learning from the most recent books.

The benefits of cloud in education are massive. The safety, stability, and ease of use of cloud computing in education in Africa is resulting in widespread adoption in educational institutions of all sizes and types.

From 3-4 November 202, Google cloud will also be hosting a government and education summit. You can read all about this online event and how to register here

In the news

Oracle announced that it has selected Johannesburg for its first African Cloud region. Microsoft added Availability Zones to Cloud regions in South Africa and South Korea, while seemingly de-listed a second region in South Africa. Maher Al-Khaiyat, the regional business applications director for Microsoft MEA in a column published on Kenya’s Business Daily also highlighted how cloud-based IT solutions can help firms manage change

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at  Incentro Africa.

[Africa Cloud Review] Simon Ngunjiri: Africa needs more cloud skills

Africa needs more cloud computing skills. IT professionals in the region need to gain skills in cloud and data architecture due to the rapidly increasing number of organizations subscribing to integrated cloud services in recent years.

This has especially been accelerated by the pandemic. In fact, analysts predict more and more businesses will be moving to cloud as businesses and their employees worldwide continue to face tremendous challenges in maintaining business continuity. 

A recent Veeam Data Protection Report 2021 report also found that 96% of organizations around the world are accelerating cloud usage.

In May this year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced that it will be bringing its re/Start cloud skills training program to Kenya and South Africa this month as part of its rapid expansion plans this year.  AWS re/Start is a free, full-time, 12-week program designed to support people who are unemployed or underemployed, and who have little technology experience, for careers in cloud computing. The program provides participants with new cloud computing skills, career, and resume coaching, and interviews with local employers. Last week the programme kicked off in South Africa in collaboration with Nedbank. 

With this programme, Nedbank is working with AWS re/Start to help learners gain job-specific skills, connect them with employers, and support them as they embark on cloud careers.

Cloud is an exciting industry to be in, with lots of areas of specialization, and more jobs being created each year.  IT News Africa journalist Luis Monzon notes that many companies in countries like South Africa are mature from an information technology (IT) perspective

‘’..but because the hunt for skills is so competitive, with far fewer available skills than there is demand for, often these companies just cannot find the people to build the complex infrastructures they need to take full advantage of cloud computing.’’  Developing such skills, especially for young people, presents an immense potential for the continent’s economic growth. 

In May this year, Google also announced it will be offering Android and cloud development scholarships to developers across  Africa. The tech giant said the new scholarships will be offered to beginner and intermediate developers residents in Africa. A total of 40,000 scholarships will be offered to developers spread across Mobile and Cloud development tracks and, at the end of the training, the top 1,000 students will earn a full scholarship to certify in Android or Cloud development.

This was a huge move considering that African businesses are discovering that platforms like Google Cloud are allowing agility and innovation faster and more affordably. Moving to Google Cloud can revolutionize a business in under a month. 

Bottom line, as we have mentioned in our previous Africa Cloud Review article, cloud is accelerating digital change across different industries and transforming the continent’s productive capacity. Investing in cloud skills should there be a top priority.

Simon Ngunjiri Muraya is Google Cloud Architect at Incentro Africa.