Read time: 3 minutes

SA, Kenya step up efforts to develop ICT skills

SA, Kenya step up efforts to develop ICT skills

The 2016 JCSE ICT Skills Survey found that South Africa was falling behind its peers in Africa (notably Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt) and that these countries were placing greater emphasis on the contribution technology makes in terms of economic growth and social development.

South Africa and Kenya are now rolling out connectivity and ICT skills initiatives aimed at preparing young people in both countries for a new world of work.

The Communication Authority in Kenya is launching an education broadband project and internet connectivity to 896 secondary schools in Kitui County today, days after South Africa rolled out a similar project in partnership with the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Internet for All project at Reuben Ntuli Secondary School.

The South African leg of Internet for All is the fifth country programme for WEF after Rwanda, Kenya, Argentina and Uganda.

Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa has lauded the introduction of connectivity services by Internet for All for learners in rural regions of South Africa. "It is going to change the lives of these learners. These learners, who already are determined to pass their Grade 12, are now going to do so with flying colours."

Dr Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services in South Africa also oversaw the implementation of the connectivity projects, which includes free WiFi for learners and citizens as part of a drive to connect 22 million South Africans by the end of 2019.

"We want people not just to have the internet, but to use it for their development. We have been training sixty of our youth along with fifteen companies to maintain this network and to install it in other areas."

The WEF Internet for All initiative plans to accelerate internet access and adoption for the world's 4 billion unconnected people through new models of public-private collaboration.

More than 50 global organisations from business, government and civil society as well as donors form part of the Internet for All global Steering Committee.

Joe Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary for ICT in Kenya (where the initiatives such as the Digital Literacy Programme (DLP) and The Presidential Digital Talent Programme (PDTP) are also currently being implemented) says the youth should prepare themselves for a technology and innovation driven job market if they expect to get employment.

"Modern society is adapting to the ongoing push to transition to fragmented division of labour that will assign highly specialised tasks to people at the point of need. New job opportunities and categories that never existed are now being created."

Mucheru says the government's DLP will equalise learning opportunities for all pupils from as early as class one and make the children to be globally competitive from the onset.

Daily newsletter