Director of Planning and Information of Ministry of Education, Dr Felix Phiri who represented the Secreatry to Cabinet, Dr Roland Msiska (2nd left), UNZA Vice Chancellor, Prof. Luke Mumba (left), Huawei Country Managing Director, Thomas Hu (right) and Chinese Economic and Commercial Counselor, Mr Ouyang Daobing (2nd right) pose for a picture with a dummy cheque during the signing ceremony of the UNZA - Huawei Agreement and commisioning of the UNZA-Huawei Authorized Network Academy and Practice Centre.
Government’s vision to create more jobs for local people through initiatives that build a strong economy anchored on the Smart Zambia transformation agenda by adopting new technologies. Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr Roland Msiska said in his speech read on his behalf by Director of Planning and Information in the Ministry of Education, Dr Felix Phiri, during the signing of an agreement between the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Huawei Technology Limited and commissioning of the UNZA-Huawei Authorized Network Academy and Practice Centre on Thursday, 13th April 2017 at the Great East Road campus.
Dr Msiska said that government was pleased to note that Huawei technologies and UNZA had partnered in a programme that would see Huawei technologies deliver certification courses to students at the new UNZA-Huawei Authorized Network Academy and Practice Centre.
“In 2015, His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, launched the Smart Zambia programme under the theme; ‘Embracing a Transformational Culture for a Smart Zambia Now’,” Dr Msiska said.
He said that the establishment of the academy was in line with the Government’s ICT human resource development roadmap which was aimed at, ultimately, developing local skills to achieve a knowledge and innovation driven economy.
And UNZA Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Luke Evuta Mumba said that the University was doubling its efforts to enhance the much needed linkage between the academics and industry through strategic partnerships.
He said that the signing of the memorandum of agreement and the commissioning of the Huawei/UNZA training academy (HANA) would go a long way in improving the quality of ICT students graduating from UNZA so that they were industry ready students.
At the same function, Huawei Country Managing Director, Thomas Hu, said Huawei had been connecting Zambia with innovative ICT technologies for over 13 years and would continue to do so through joint efforts between Huawei and the Government of Zambia and local partners.
“We believe this programme is in line with our Smart Zambia programme to enhance the empowerment and skill transfer of the ICT talents in Zambia. We also believe this is in line with one of the 10 Major China-Africa cooperation plans announced by our President Xi Jinping in the year 2015 at Johannesburg FOCAC summit for the training support to improve management and technician to accelerate industrialisation in Africa,” said Mr Hu.
Mr. Hu said the joint partnership with UNZA for ICT programme included the following establishments:
1. Huawei had spent US $350,000 to set up Huawei Authorized Network Academy and Practice Centre which includes wireless, transmission, optical fibre access and solar power courses and equipment from Huawei. It will also serve as a lab to allow students to get on hand practices.
2. Huawei helped UNZA to train 12 ICT lecturers to enable them familiarise with ICT industry practices and promote lecturers professional development. In the future, Huawei will invite lecturers to participate in some real projects of Huawei in Zambia to improve their practical capability.
3. Under the guidance from Chinese Embassy in Zambia and discussions between UNZA and Huawei, US$17,500 will be set up for scholarship programme at UNZA this year for top five (5) students to encourage their study in the university.
The partnership between UNZA and Huawei Technology Limited began September 2016 when the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) anchored on educational collaboration.
In the MoU, it agreed to collaborate in providing the following:
1. ICT training Centre located in the school of engineering.
2. Establishment of the Huawei/UNZA academy that will be used to train the students, academic members of staff and members of the public from the industry on ICT technologies with a bias toward Huawei technologies (HANA).
3. Provide five (5) fully-funded scholarships for postgraduate training and research in ICTs.
Meanwhile, the training Centre would be used for hands-on practicals by UNZA students and staff during the training sessions. Additionally, the Centre would be used by both UNZA and Huawei during the first three (3) years, thereafter, it would be handed over to UNZA after the three (3) year-period.
Currently, UNZA has the following existing academies and testing centre in collaboration with the industry offering specialised programmes and international certifications in ICT:
1. CISCO networking academy (Computer Science department)
2. Oracle Academy (Computer Science department.)
3. ESEFA (Sap University Alliance) - (Computer Science department and department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering)
4. Pearson testing centre - (Computer Science department.)
Moreover, UNZA has signed a number of developmental bilateral agreements with Chinese higher educational institutions, some of which include:-
• Jilin Agricultural University for the establishment of agricultural demonstration centre - there is a recent proposal to establish a maize and milling plant.
• Hubei School of Economics and Business Management, for the establishment of Confucius institute,
• South East University, which has greatly supported the capacity building at the University, by awarding postgraduate scholarship academic staff.
Director of Planning and Information of Ministry of Education, Dr Felix Phiri who represented the Secreatry to Cabinet, Dr Roland Msiska (2nd right), UNZA Vice Chancellor, Prof. Luke Mumba (2nd left), Huawei Country Managing Director, Thomas Hu (left) and Chinese Economic and Commercial Counselor, Mr Ouyang Daobing (middle) get ready to cut the ribbon to officially commission the the UNZA-Huawei Authorized Network Academy and Practice Centre.