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Kenyan University to offer Linux Training

This story was done 6 year ago. It is good food for thought about how a private company/individual can partner with a University or learning institution - private or public, to offer Linux training and certification in a mutually profitable manner.

Circuits and Packets was run by one of the early leaders in FOSS advocacy in Kenya, Bill Kagai. I met Bill when he was organizing Idlelo2 in Nairobi in 2006, which was very successful. He had created this partnership with the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) through their business arm (JKUAT Enterprises Ltd). As you can see, the partnership was perfect for both entities. In Kenya, many Universities have registered companies that hey use to trade or offer consultancy services for a fee, apart from their regular core business of academics. Another good example here is University of Nairobi Enterprises Ltd which among other things runs the University mortuary at a fee to the general public.

6 years is a long time in the world of IT. I attended a meeting last Friday where about 30 business people were gathered for networking purposes. During introductions, I asked them if they had ever heard about Linux, and about 20 hands went up. I then asked if they had heard about Ubuntu, and nearly all hands went up. If this was 6 years ago, the response would not have been that positive. This means that today nearly everyone who uses a computer knows about Ubuntu, (and more than even Linux!). Which means that the market is much better than it was six years ago, and therefore a better opportunity to teach Linux exists today.

At that time, JKUAT enterprises was headed by Prof Henry Thairu, a FOSS champion who later left to head the new Inoorero Univesity in Nairobi. Being a FOSS convert, it was easy for him to work with Bill on this innovative project even at a time when FOSS was still very new in Kenya. This shows that to have a successful partnership, one needs to identify a FOSS champion to work with in a target University or Institution.

In this arrangement, the University provides the facilities – training halls or fully equipped computer labs , and a ready market of Computer Science students. The trainer provides expertise and learning material. This is so because many Universities do not yet have adequate expertise or manpower to deliver Linux training. They then sit down and agree on how the partnership will work, how much they will charge for the training, and how they will share the profits. The same arrangements can be made to train outsiders, who are charged a higher fee.

I hope this will give some insights to the LPI trainers who are now working on strategies to roll out LPI training in their countries.


Linux is a great system, I definitely prefer it to anything else. Get out there and spread the word - teach it to as many people as you can!

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