In July, President Ramaphosa spoke at the inaugural 4th Industrial Revolution SA Digital Economy Summit, which looked at the impact that technology currently has on the South African society. One of the key themes included ‘The Future of Work and Jobs’.
What is the 4th Industrial Revolution?
Over the centuries, industrial revolutions have helped shape societies across the globe, each introducing key technologies that have brought about vast improvements and increased efficiency in the workplace and propelling society, as a whole, to new heights.
The first industrial revolution gave us the steam engine; the second brought about the capability of mass production; the third saw the advancement of computers and semi-conductors.
The fourth industrial revolution is introducing us to the wonders of artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology, to name just a few. Systems and capabilities, such as autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, remote access and augmented reality are now no longer lofty ideas found in science fiction novels, but common terminology spoken of in almost every home.
Preparing our kids
How can any of this technology be integrated into our schooling system? With increases in alternatives to mainstream schools and classrooms, the opportunities to integrate digital technology into our educational system are endless. Fully online and digital platform classrooms, remote access or even augmented or virtual reality classrooms open up the frontier of supplying quality education to even more students. This is technology that kids are using already, in their phones and tablets, home computers and gaming consoles. If we are relying on such technology to entertain our children, why not rely on it to teach them as well?
This does not eliminate the need for qualified, dedicated teachers. This technology is meant as a tool, not a replacement. It is meant to make life easier.
But why stop at primary and high schools? Pulled through to the tertiary education sector, digital technology could be instrumental in training, ‘hands on’ scenarios in augmented and virtual reality; remote access, interactive classrooms and lectures so that those who are unable to reach a physical classroom can still get the quality education that they need to improve their lives and support themselves and their families and become active, productive members of the community. The options and opportunities are endless.
But, the reality of the situation is such that none of the above is really within reach at this time, because of lack of infrastructure, as well as the costs involved in implementing some of these technologies. It is now, more than ever, that we need the talents and innovations of the youth to bring us into this new era, to place us on a level playing field with the global community.
ISFAP and Wraparound Support
Focusing on degrees leading to Occupations in High Demand, ISFAP gives the youth an opportunity to attend one of 11 universities to complete a tertiary degree in one of 11 programmes. The focus is to enable these students to one day enter the job market with the skills the Human Resource Development Council has deemed necessary to uplift and strengthen the future of the South African economy. As financial resources increase ISFAP plans to expand to all 26 South African public universities.
our unique Wraparound Support system enables these students to not only attend the classes, but offers assistance and support in related, non-academic areas as well, making sure that these students can focus fully on completing their studies, no matter what life throws at them.
The Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme (ISFAP) was established, through the recommendation of the Ministerial Task Team, to develop a sustainable funding model for the higher education costs of South Africa’s missing-middle students. The programme aims to fast track skills development for the 21st century by funding students studying towards a career in scarce skills that have been identified as critical to South Africa’s economic development.
ISFAP provides more than just funding to ensure a student’s success. Using a unique wraparound support model, developed and successfully implemented by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA’s) Thuthuka Bursary Fund, ISFAP provides funding for tuition, accommodation, transport, meals, books, equipment and a stipend. The programme also offers additional academic, social and psychological support (such as mentoring and life skills training) to give students support in every area in order to ensure their success and work readiness.
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