Preparing pupils for 4IR

TECH SAVVY: Pupils from Mzomhle Senior Secondary and Sakhile Primary schools in Mdantsane explore their coding project with FOSST robotics faciliator Xolisa Williams, front Picture: AMANDA NANO

The 15th annual Information and Communication Technology Summit took place at the East London International Convention Centre from November 20 to 21.

ICT summit founder and executive chairperson Motse Mfuleni said every summit was focused on a different theme highlighting key topical issues within the ICT sector.

“Earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa encouraged us as a country to embrace and harness the Fourth Industrial Revolution [4IR] as it brings digital evolution to enhance economic transformation, job creation, education skills and spatial integration, among others,” Mfuleni said.

In her keynote video address, telecommunications and postal services minister Stella Ndabeni Abrahams said there was a need to boost the economy for investment .

“There is no reason why fibre optics, batteries and other tools are manufactured outside the country,” Abrahams said.

“We will also consult with the ICT industry for expertise and knowledge to take SA to greater heights.”

Schools in the province have benefitted from digital training, which includes robotics and coding programme roll-outs.

At the forefront of this is a partnership between the National Electronic Media Institute of SA (Nemisa), University of Fort Hare (UFH) and Walter Sisulu University (WSU) to train schools in science and technology.

The Fort Hare School of Science and Technology (FOSST) Discovery Centre has equipped pupils from Mdantsane, Komani and Butterworth with digital skills.

“They’ve learned coding and how to assemble Lego robots, and we are trying to ensure that with the introduction of 4IR, they also know the new careers open to them,” FOSST ICT specialist Xolani Gotyi said.

This creates a platform to discuss innovative ideas, industry trends and issues.

Mfuleni said: “One of the critical discussions is the rollout of the multi-million-rand broadband project in the EC, which is meant to provide wide area networks to enable Wi-Fi connectivity that allows the various provincial departments to interact with other government facilities easily.”

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