If information and communications technology (ICT) is to fulfil its potential in improving the lives of all Kenyans, then the importance of the professionalism of its practitioners cannot be overemphasised. This what Kenya hoped to achieve with a 2016 bill that attracted a ton of attention from the public, mostly negative.
As of this week, the State has re-introduced the Information Communication Technology Practitioners Bill, this time for 2020 in the Kenya Gazette. As said, the Bill was first discussed back in 2016, but ICT CS Joe Mucheru kicked it out because it was allegedly duplicating regulations that were already in existence.
We explored the hue and cry over the bill back in the day, and you can remind yourself about why industry experts were up in arms about its provisions, some of which were said to take the state backwards.
‘The key contentious issue with the bill was the need for all ICT Practitioners to be registered by the Professional Body Institution of ICT Practitioners; and that one of the key requirements for registration was a University Degree from a reputable University. Also, key stakeholders felt that the Bill was not representative of the situation on the ground and would hinder innovation rather than encourage it contrary to the ICT policy and government development agenda,’ we reported.
The Bill was then retired for a while, but made it back to the House in 2018 for deliberations.
The 2020 version has not deviated a lot from the suggestions made previously. Summarily, the bill suggests the establishment of a Practitioners Institute, its members including the Chairperson, its functions, not to mention the introduction of its Council and conduct of business and affairs of the Council.
The Bill says that the Institute (the ICT Practitioners Institute) will be led by the Council of the Institute. The Council will be made up of the ICT PS, Treasury ICT, a rep from the ICT Authority, one person appointed by ICT CS, and four other people appointed by the ICT Association of Kenya, the Computer Society of Kenya, the Telecommunication Service Providers and an elected Chairperson.
The Institute was said to have a CEO in the 2016 Bill, and he/she is still here, and is appointed by the Council.
The overall functions of the Council include planning, arranging, coordinating and overseeing professional training and development of ICT practitioners; promote the international recognition of the Institute and perform any other functions descried under the provisions of the Act.
The Council shall also maintain the register of ICT practitioners, and can remove the name of dead members, or those who have committed offenses under the Act.
Practitioners are given a one-year license (Jan to December), after which they can renew them.
The licenses attract fees, which are paid yearly.
The comparison between the bills (2016 and 2020) does not appear to have changed much. We will look into them further to see how the 2020 version has been adjusted to reflect the input forwarded by friends of the industry over the last few years.
You can find it here.