by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – A PARTNERSHIP between a global technology firm and the South African College Principals Organisation (SACPO) is a milestone in the country’s information and communications (ICT) education.
It is anticipated to building industry professionals for the future economy, prepare Africa’s most advanced economy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and create jobs and opportunities.
Huawei’s partnership with SAPCO is the culmination of the former’s ICT Academy, to be rolled out at Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across South Africa.
To date, 23 colleges have been enrolled as Huawei ICT Academy and more than 200 instructors are being trained to offer Huawei Accredited courses.
Dr Blade Nzimande, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and
Technology, said the project underscored the aim of the 2013 White Paper for Post School Education and Training, which is to offer relevant skills to South Africans, through amongst others, TVET colleges.
“Huawei as a big global player in the ICT sector. It is contemporary. It is current and therefore, the training will help our students to be relevant and to be job-ready,” he said.
Nzimande said current education policy emphasised curriculum relevance and lecturer quality and expressed the wish that TVET academies become the first choice for obtaining relevant skills for South Africa’s youth.
The role of industry becomes more significant than ever in realising this goal, the minister said.
He pointed out South Africa faced immediate skills shortages which were constraining investment and growth.
“Bold and visionary partnerships between industry partners like Huawei and public colleges can accelerate innovation and help deliver solutions to pressing social challenges,” Nzimande said.
The Huawei ICT Academy will offer the Chinese company’s certification training online and in classrooms, train instructors, support training plan design and curriculum integration and help to maintain high training standards and participation rates.
Spawn Fan, Huawei South Africa Chief Executive Officer, said the company recognised the national ICT development and investment 4IR should join with indispensable and sustainable talent supply.
“This can only be achieved through the joint efforts of government, academia and industry,” Fan said at the launch.
The launch took place digitally due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Fan pledged Huawei, which has been in South Africa for over 20 years, would continuously invest in ICT talent development to drive South Africa’s 4IR.
Sanele Mlotshwa, the SACPO President, said the 4IR would affect all
industries and would make such partnerships more relevant.
Dr Hubert Gijzen, from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Southern Africa), said Africa must build modern green energy and ICT infrastructure to fully benefit from this.
– CAJ News