ict practitioners bill is back

Hi All,

So – having seen an article in the standardmedia in which elements of what I stated below were quoted – and to which there seem to have been responses – I now need to comment further:

(Article found at: www.standardmedia.co.ke/business/article/2001263257/techies-oppose-move-to-introduce-new-ict-watchdog)

Mucheru, however, denies that the Bill will lock out experts without formal training insisting the reverse will be the case. “This Bill will benefit the people who have been working in technical capacity for years but have not acquired certificates,” he explained. “If they can demonstrate their proficiency to the Institute then they can get certified and widen the scope of jobs they can bid or apply for.”

So – I have a question – What will be the method of demonstrating proficiency and how will this be tested – and what will it cost – and how long will it take.

Now – let me break the questions down a bit

1. The ICT field is vast – are you going to test proficiency in programming? In networking? In security? In database administration? In desktop support? In Linux? Freebsd? Microsoft? Solaris? AIX? What is the test going to be – and who is going to administer these tests
2. What makes an industry body more capable of testing proficiency than Cisco, Juniper, Huawei or any of the other vendors – the bill does *NOT* cater for industry standard certification outside of formal education – it simply is not in there – and if you are not going to accept these and are going to have this industry body determine proficiency – we need to know how this will be done and how the people testing proficiency will be qualified to do it – and in what fields they are qualified to test proficiency.
3. What is the cost of this testing of proficiency – does an individual who has certified as a CCIE at the cost of thousands – and in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars suddenly need to pay more to demonstrate something that he has clearly already demonstrated? Who will it be paid for? How will the money be utilized? Will this be included in the license fee for the first year? Or will this suddenly cost extra so someone can make some money?
4. How does does it take to “demonstrate proficiency” – and if I bring in someone from outside to train my staff in a new field of technology – is he going to be made to sit some kind of exam? Or pay some kind of fee before he can upskill Kenyans? Because – lets be real – that is not going to happen – it will be the death of bringing in people to impart knowledge.

Let me be blunt – more than half the authors of the RFC’s within the IETF would not qualify under the bill as it stands – this means they would have to “demonstrate” their proficiency – despite the fact that they have their names on Internet standards – and if people expect these individuals to sit exams or prove to people that they know what they are doing – despite the knowledge having been clearly demonstrated (which is why they are being flown in in the first place, to train Kenyans in skills that are not available in the country so that those Kenyans can continue to further upskill and lift up the industry) – you can kiss goodbye to having cutting edge people coming into this country – it simply won’t happen – and it will be Kenya that loses out.

Then to comment on this:

Mucheru adds that the Government has held several engagements with practitioners in the sector on the provisions of the Bill.

Correct – there was massive engagement – and the bill was largely defeated after the industry said it was broken – after people on this list said it was broken – after it was slammed left right and centre – so yes – there was engagement – but the article is wrong about the fact that the engagement agreed that this bill in its current form was a good idea or represented the correct solution.

“There was consensus that we need to establish a professional body to regulate the industry,” he said.

I have no problem with the concept of a professional body – I have major problems with forcing a situation where people who have potentially decades of experience have to suddenly “prove” their skills via some entirely undefined means at some undefined cost to a bunch of people who may or may not have anywhere close to the experience or knowledge of the person being tested. If we said that we had a professional body that people could register to – and they needed to be registered – and in the event of substantiated complaints the individual could be deregistered and blacklisted – I would have no problem. It is the arbitrary and unsubstantiated and undefined criteria for registration that I take exception to – and that I believe could result in expensive legal challenges.

Please – do not get me wrong – I do not begrudge anyone who has a desire to genuinely root out the bad apples and clean up the industry and remove scam artists and fraudsters. I think that is a noble and pure objective that should be pursued. I however dispute the fact that this bill is the right way to go about it – and I dispute the fact that university degrees have anything to do with competence in this industry – particularly with the rate that technology evolves – because an individual doing a 3 year degree who is learning specific technologies in his first year – by the time he graduates – those technologies are history – and when he walks into the industry – he is having to self study it all again ANYWAY. Let me give you examples of technologies that did not exist a year ago in any real form:

1. Segment routing – the foundation of network routing going forward and the replacement to MPLS – how do I know this – because I’ve had my hands in crafting the specifications and doing a lot of the beta testing for it – so who is going to test proficiency here – it changes the game – and the only people qualified to teach it – or gauge the proficiency in it – do not themselves qualify under this bill to be registered.
2. Network telemetry processing – first introduced in limited form in Q3 2015 – and only now becoming main stream – but within a year of it being main stream – it will replace standard network monitoring entirely – who is going to teach that with a university degree?
3. Which university degree teaches BGP? BGP-LU? ISIS? Network segmentation? IPv6 addressing?

The list is endless – these are things that cannot be learnt through a degree – they are learnt through industry standard certification or self-skilling by reading documentation.

So, Mr Mucheru – please – do not read me wrong – I have tremendous respect for the regulator in this country – and it is testament to how well the Kenyan industry and the regulatory environment here works that today – Kenya has higher average mobile broadband speeds than either the US or South Africa or a lot of other places. It is testament to the regulatory environment here that we have the high-speed networks we do – and that the pricing is as low as it is – because the industry is competitive and open and innovative. This list of things the regulator has gotten right in this country is long – I do however plead with you, the bill as it stands would break the industry that all of us – yourself – myself – and so many others have worked so hard to build. I am NOT against a professional body – I am NOT against formalizing things – but I beg you – do not walk down the road of this current bill in its current form – it will be death to this industry in this country.

Andrew Alston

From: Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston@liquidtelecom.com>
Date: Monday, 4 December 2017 at 01:24
To: KICTAnet ICT Policy Discussions <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>
Cc: Liz Wanjiru <lizwanjiru@gmail.com>
Subject: RE: [kictanet] ict practitioners bill is back

I have to say – personally I cannot think of a worse piece of legislation that I have seen in recent history.

Let us look at the net effects of this and the problems with it:

1. Large companies bring in consultants or external people where necessary to supplement capacity, to train and upskill Kenyan staff etc, while those guys are here, even for a week or two, they are compensated, and my reading of this bill is – this would be illegal – because you’d have to get every consultant you bring in accredited and licensed first – which is impractical in the extreme
2. The list of highly skilled people with 20+ years experience who would not qualify for accreditation under this bill is extensive, globally and within Kenya – this bill completely stops any form of knowledge transfer from those individuals and in fact will force a situation where Kenyan’s who wish to learn from some of the biggest names in the industry would be forced to go internationally to get that knowledge, rather than bringing those people in to train locally
3. It forces Kenyans who have spent years learning and honing their skills without university qualifications out of work and could well result in large scale job losses looking at the number of highly skilled individuals I know of who are working without qualifications
4. It prevents private companies from making what are normal business decisions – who they hire and who they pay. That is problematic in the extreme – in any normal situation if a private company hires staff that don’t perform – those staff either get fired or the market rejects the company and the company disappears – standard market dynamics – in this case – if a company finds extremely talented people they may be forced into a position where they have to hire less skilled people because someone can’t meet some accreditation requirement.
5. The bill has no recognition of prior experience – no recognition of those who have published papers and are world recognized experts – does not specify what the “recognized” universities are – does not take into account industry standard certification (CISSP/CCNA/CCIE/CCDP/JNCIE/JNCIP/JNCIA, the list is endless)
6. May well end up in the constitutional court when it deprives a host of people who have spent their lives working in this industry and have no other options for a career of the ability to earn a living

The bill relies on the belief that a university qualification some how makes you better than those without – it’s reasoning that has been disproved globally for years and years and years – and it flies in the face of the global industry and the way the ICT industry has worked since the day it began. It is damaging to the industry in Kenya – it is damaging to the growth prospects of the economy as a result – it is damaging to the people of Kenya – and it will destroy the position that Kenya is in as one of the leaders of the ICT industry on the continent (Kenya already has the highest average broadband speeds on the continent and significantly better ICT infrastructure than you will find even in South Africa – it is doing so well – why break a system that is proving functional?)

I really hope this does not pass – and if it does – will be curious to see the court challenges and how they play out – but I think this is madness personally – and in the name of stopping a few bad individuals – penalizes the entire country and will destroy an industry that employs thousands.


From: kictanet [mailto:kictanet-bounces+andrew.alston=liquidtelecom.com@lists.kictanet.or.ke] On Behalf Of Liz Wanjiru via kictanet
Sent: 04 December 2017 06:43
To: Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston@liquidtelecom.com>
Cc: Liz Wanjiru <lizwanjiru@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [kictanet] ict practitioners bill is back


While trying to push such laws shouldn’t they be looking at credentialing people without formal ICT schooling but have the experience, knowledge and skills to back them? These people have talent and positively contribute in the industry. Some countries have learning institutions credentialing professionals based on their body of work and so long as they can demonstrate this they are awarded the degrees or other government approved certifications. Here is an example of such



On Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 3:18 PM, Ahmed Mohamed Maawy via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>> wrote:
I wonder how some of the ground breaking technology companies – such as for instance Google Kenya, can operate if this bill is passed.

On Sun, Dec 3, 2017 at 4:57 PM, Watila Alex via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>> wrote:

EricKigada: Kenya’s controversial ICT Practitioners Bill 2016 to be tabled in parliament again



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