NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In an effort to meet the growing demand for highly skilled IT professionals, three of Kenya's leading universities are teaming with IBM (NYSE: IBM) to create an advanced educational and training environment. These partnerships will help students develop critical Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) skills in areas such as analytics, cyber security, big data, social business and cloud. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090416/IBMLOGO) As part of the collaboration, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Riara University and Strathmore University will have access to the latest enterprise software and systems. Faculty will have no-charge access to an extensive library of IT curricula for computer science, business and other degree programs and be able to participate in ongoing training opportunities. Students will also have access to IBM experts and real-world case studies from a range of industries. "In the next five years, we expect IT enabled services to contribute 25 percent of the Kenyan GDP. We therefore need to develop massive human resource capacity in ICTs and nurture talented and skilled people to ensure that all Kenyan graduates are ready for the highly technical workplace," said Dr. Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary of the Kenyan ministry for ICT. "This is the primary reason why we are aggressively partnering with the private sector to improve skills within ICT." The IT industry is expected to grow by 11 percent annually in Kenya, creating a need for highly-skilled professionals capable of driving IT innovation and entrepreneurship. By bringing the latest enterprise technology and real-world scenarios into the classroom, students will gain market-ready skills and be better prepared to meet the needs of Kenya's growing IT market. "We at Riara University are committed to nurturing innovators whilst inculcating a spirit of excellence, research and human resource development; such partnerships with leading innovators are critical to achieving our vision," said Professor Kiarie Mwaura, vice chancellor, Riara University. With the rapidly evolving technology landscape and increased financial pressures, the ability of universities to quickly respond to shifting market needs is challenging. Public sector-academic partnerships help universities produce graduates who have the right skills at the right time to meet market demands. With today's news, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Riara University and Strathmore University will have access to technology used in businesses around the world and the resources to put new course modules into place quickly.