SOUTH AFRICA TAKES BOLD STEPS TO ADDRESS SKILLS SHORTAGE AND DIGITAL DIVIDE BROUGHT BY 4IR
DUT partners with the MICT SETA
28 October 2021: Tomorrow, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) will launch phase one of the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority’s (MICT SETA) upskilling and reskilling preparedness programme. This is aimed at realising the highest levels of Government’s strategic plans for societal and industrial reforms as well as to narrow the growing digital divide brought about by the emergence of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
The postgraduate training is structured into independent partnerships with 5 leading researchers across South African tertiary institutions. These centres of higher learning are at the cusp of innovations that critically interrogate and address the technological skills shortage and in so doing, are developing systems and labour ready for the modern economy.
DUT’s Ritson Campus (Durban) will mark this milestone with an official opening this Friday 29 October 2021, from 10h00 to 13h00, as it hosts the first of the Smart Societies. For this particular partnership, the MICT SETA is providing funding required to establish and sustain a Centre of Excellence for 4IR Postgraduate student training at DUT. The programme will resume with a cohort of 20 postgraduate students receiving bursaries to the value of R90 000 each. It is envisaged these students would go on to make a positive impact on society by shaping skills, pioneering industries and empowering industries with their research findings.
The Chair of this programme was awarded to Professor Oludayo Olugbara, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics at DUT.
In commenting on the Chair, Prof Sibusiso Moyo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Engagement was elated that this is the 3rd SETA Chair that DUT is hosting.
“It is aligned to the Systems and Processes and Society perspectives of DUT’s ENVISION2030 and will ensure we can contribute to having an innovative curriculum as well as contribute to DUT having appropriate 4IR infrastructure to support our innovation and ensure we have the state-of-the-art infrastructure. Congratulations to Prof Olugbara for leveraging additional resources through the Chair,” said Prof Moyo.
The Faculty’s state-of-the-art equipment adorns high-tech laboratories for IoT and Robotics. In addition, there are fully equipped computer laboratories to support postgraduate research in IoT, drone-based computing systems, robotics programming, and computing networks.
Research on the impact of artificial intelligence in 12 developed economies reveals that AI could double annual economic growth rates by 2035 and could increase labour productivity by up to 40%, increasing efficiency. This while South Africans in the most continue to feel the pinch of unemployment. Identifying optimal solutions to the expected job displacements requires a rethinking of education, science, technology and innovation systems.
“As a global leader in the development and delivery of revolutionary ICT skills, it was imperative of us as the MICT SETA to heed the challenge of Africa being left behind as the world races to closely embrace 4IR.
“Moulding a new generation of African Information and Communications Technology (ICT) postgraduate students well equipped to apply new thinking and knowledge through ultramodern technologies that will bring much needed novel solutions for persistent challenges in critical sectors like healthcare, agriculture, education, finance, and education,” concludes chairperson of the MICT SETA board Simphiwe Thobela.