Microsoft ADC completes second cohort of training for university lecturers




Several faculty members from Kenyan universities graduated from the second cohort of the Microsoft Africa Development Centre’s (ADC) intensive upskilling programme, which launched in partnership with Microsoft Leap. With a 100% completion rate, the program exposed the lecturers to rigorous training that included cutting-edge technological advancements to improve their understanding of technical issues and bridge the gap between the classroom and the industry.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony about the growing importance of artificial intelligence in modern academia, Irene Githinji, Education Engagements Lead at Microsoft ADC said: “We are delighted that all 24 lecturers who began the programme have graduated because it aims to improve faculty skills in teaching and research, as the world seeks to do more with the power of artificial intelligence. The programme’s impact can be felt in lecturers’ classrooms, universities, and beyond by fostering collaboration and innovation. Our overall educational goal is to create a strong pipeline of capable individuals who will help to advance Africa’s technology landscape. There is no better way to accomplish this than to improve lecturers’ understanding of how the industry operates and what skills are required.”

(TOP: L-R – Irene Githinji, Program Manager, Education Engagements at Microsoft ADC; Caroline Njenga, Program Business Manager, Microsoft Leap; Peter Muturi, Computer Science Lecturer, Multimedia University of Kenya; and Anne Muchiri, Computer Science Lecturer, St Paul’s University, at the graduation ceremony of Cohort 2 of Microsoft ADC’s faculty upskilling and immersion programme. The programme, run in partnership with Microsoft Leap, provides hands-on training and certification for lecturers of tech courses, helping bridge the gap between academia and industry). 

The 12-week programme included a curriculum developed and taught in collaboration with Microsoft Leap instructors, and brought together faculty from institutions across the country, including Zetech University, Kabarak, Multimedia University, Jomo Kenyatta, St Pauls University, Jomo Kenyatta University, Strathmore University, USIU, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, and Meru University.

Speaking about the initiative, Yolanda Natal-Santos, Director of Microsoft Leap, said: “Through our continued collaboration with the ADC, we’ve successfully delivered in-depth learning experiences for local faculty to help them thrive in our increasingly digital world. This program’s impact is two-fold: advancing individual careers while also strengthening educational institutions, ensuring they remain at the forefront of innovation.”This second cohort introduced a new skillset for this group , teaching with AI, which reflects the growing role of generative technology in everyday life, including the classroom. The program also focused on software engineering fundamentals and 21st-century learning design through a project-based learning approach that allowed participating faculty to earn Microsoft certifications.

Throughout the program, participating faculty members were assigned projects that combined AI, software engineering principles, and modern learning designs, allowing them to understand better how a developer team operates in practice.

This culminated in a project competition where the faculty was required to develop a solution that required an understanding of software development principles, artificial intelligence, and the considerations made by software engineers.

“We are also celebrating the projects the lecturers have come up with to show their grasp of the concepts. The competition, which was judged by Microsoft engineers, was won by a team comprising instructors from Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, and Zetech University,” said Ms. Githinji.

On his part, Peter Muturi, a programming lecturer at Multimedia University and graduate of the faculty upskilling programme, called for adopting technology in teaching and learning regardless of the study area.

“Through the programme, we have learned what the industry is looking for. It has allowed us to see that we might not have been preparing students adequately for the current market needs. It has shown us that we need to work with AI to enhance our productivity as lecturers and that of our students, rather than look at it as competition. Through the training, we’ve seen 21st-century learning design that can incorporate technology to teach within the technology industry and beyond,” said Mr Muturi.

The faculty skilling programme is part of Microsoft ADC’s larger mission to improve the tech talent pipeline, which includes initiatives such as campus tours, the Game of Learners competition for university students, and curriculum reviews for technology-related courses in universities. ADC recently launched a cybersecurity skills enhancement initiative in collaboration with Cyber Shujaa to train students on cybersecurity fundamentals.

Microsoft launched the Africa Development Centre (ADC) in 2019 with an initial site within Microsoft offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre’s goal is to attract world-class African engineering talent to create innovative solutions spanning the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Since its inception in Nairobi in 2019, the ADC has grown to over 500 full-time employees working in areas such as software engineering, machine learning, data science, market research, infrastructure, and much more.

Founded in 2015, Microsoft Leap opens new doors for talent worldwide. The program accelerates diverse talent’s employability in tech by providing Microsoft-curated, structured learning. Microsoft Leap aims to close the skills gap through modern hiring and skilling and provides rigorous training and support that help people make a difference from day one.

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