Last Updated on: 21st August 2023, 10:43 am
By World Bank
Dar es Salaam I It struck Grace Mhema quite early, upon joining the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT), that this leading institution in its field lacked a centralized, digitized platform for students and teachers to register grievances.
“To make a complaint, our only option was essentially via social media and other external online platforms, which would often ruffle feathers,” said Grace, now a graduate of computer engineering from the institute.
“The internal option available was not favored by students as it required you to go in person and it was arduous, risky, and very bureaucratic.”
Grace immediately saw an opportunity. She would develop an online grievance redress platform as part of her mandatory innovation assignments. As part of these tasks, students are required to create dummy companies–which they can formally register after they graduate–and propose innovations that are geared towards solving a societal problem.
With their instructors’ support and guidance, Grace and her friends developed DIT’s very first digital grievance redress system, which would come to be adopted by all 16 Regional Flagship Training Institutes (RFTIs) across Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
The institutes are being supported by the East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP) financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) with $293 million. The project aims to increase the access and improve the quality of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programs in selected RFTIs and to support regional integration in East Africa.
“The teachers were very supportive throughout the development of our project and guided us,” said Grace. “The on-campus facilities such as the Design Studio, Siemens Lab, and Huawei Lab became our home and we were able to learn a great deal in there about designing embedded systems, developing software, and networking.”
Women in tech
According to the World Bank, an estimated 230 million jobs will require digital skills by 2030. However, women stand at a disadvantage due to existing gaps in digital access and skills. In eastern and southern Africa, for instance, women make up only 30% of tertiary ICT graduates.
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“If you look at the trends related to where many women’s jobs are currently based you will see that these are also jobs that are likely to be taken over by ICT,” said Dr. Asinta Manyele, a senior lecturer and gender coordinator at DIT. “In other words, many women will lose jobs, and it is upon us to make them aware of this.”
To attract the participation of more women and girls, DIT, through EASTRIP support, has been conducting roadshows with DIT staff visiting secondary schools across different regions of the country, targeting those with low enrollment rates for girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This initiative is meant to motivate and inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM.
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