by Nashon Adero
The Pioneering Programme
The Finnish-Kenyan TAITAGIS geoinformatics education project hosted at Taita Taveta University will over the period October 01 – 12, 2019 make history in solution-oriented and community-focused GIS education for East Africa. All the pioneering MSc (Geoinformatics) students from Taita Taveta University will be participating in “TAITASMARTGIS SEMINAR” at the prestegious University of Helsinki, Finland, presenting the research outcome of their theses and networking with Finnish students and researchers. The theme is: Environmental sensing and geoinformatics for climate-smart landscape framework development for food security in East Africa.
The Prolific Partnership
The TAITAGIS partnership model of teaching Geoinformatics has been inclusive, structured, and practice-oriented. Under the “Esri 100 African Universities Program”
TAITAGIS has been a beneficiary of the critical industry support for practice-oriented education through Esri’s offer of GIS education site licenses
. Since its inception and now training the second cohort of MSc (Geoinformatics) students, TAITAGIS has not left behind practitioners with differentiated training requirements at the Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma levels. Students come from the greater East African region. The students participating in the seminar will be accompanied by seasoned researchers who will also present their GIS-based research projects impacting various sectors of the economy with local relevance and sustainability perspectives.
The Practical Premium
The research projects to be presented at the seminar and during subsequent exchange meeting address locally relevant environmental and socioeconomic problems. The topics cover the application of GIS and remote sensing technologies to addressing human-wildlife conflicts, mining and land rights in Taita Taveta, climate change, biodiversity conservation, and dynamic environmental models for policy analysis and decision support. The research projects, therefore, are of ready consumption value to the home County Government of Taita Taveta, the local communities, and the national resource governance framework at large.
The Promising Future
It is highly expected that this kind of exchange will favour the cross-fertilisation of knowledge and experiences, with participants borrowing experience from Finland’s excellent and future-oriented education model. As presented in the figure below based on past research in Kenya, this partnership is a great opportunity to fill the gaps in skills development for the digital data-driven future. Geoinformatics education and international exchange empower graduates with the key employability skills needed to turn the curve of influence towards super influence on the Future of Work.
Schematic representation of the gaps Kenya’s formal education needs to fill for industry-relevant skills development