First MSc in mobile telecommunications and innovation

One of Kenya’s foremost business education institutions, Strathmore University, is partnering with leading mobile network operator Safaricom Limited and innovation hub @iLab Africa to offer a masters degree in mobile telecommunications and innovation – a first in Africa.

The two-year masters is targeted at young telecoms graduates in a country known for pioneering mobile technology innovations, including the money transfer app Mpesa.

The 2015-16 class commences studies this month and at least 100 young people with a first degree in information and communication technology-related courses are expected to graduate with the masters in 2017, according to Strathmore Vice-chancellor John Odhiambo.

Launched first as a diploma and certificate courses in 2010, the programme has been upgraded to meet increased market demand in Kenya for various applications suited for smart phones and increased mobile and internet connectivity.

The course does not come cheap, with learners expected to cough up US$1,100 per module for each of seven modules, with those lucky enough to obtain scholarships paying slightly over US$110 per module. Learners have a choice of taking full-time or part-time classes.

Under the partnership, Strathmore will offer theoretical training including units in entrepreneurship and business management while @iLab Africa will provide practical training for the masters.

Safaricom Limited, a subsidiary of the UK phone company Vodafone, is supporting the initiative by offering 30 partial scholarships.

The master of science degree in mobile telecommunications and innovation, or MSc MTI, “is designed to support innovation and entrepreneurship in the telecommunication sector as an important pillar of sustainable economic development,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.

“Mobile cellular technologies have enabled the poorest regions and countries to extend communication to the rural poor to access cheaper services in support of agricultural services, micro-financial services and mobile money transfers,” he added.

“As the demand for these services and applications increases, the need to develop innovative solutions also increases. This programme as such focuses on the entrepreneurial spirit of students and youth to meet this growing demand.”