The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is rapidly transforming the global economy and the way we live and work. This new era is characterized by the integration of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain into all aspects of society.
In South Africa, the 4IR presents a significant opportunity for job creation, particularly for the youth. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, young South Africans must be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the 4IR economy.
One of the key ways to ensure that young South Africans are prepared for the 4IR is through the education system. The schooling system in South Africa has the potential to play a critical role in equipping young people with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 4IR economy. However, this will require significant investment in technology and training for teachers, as well as the development of new curricula that are tailored to the 4IR.
To achieve this, it is important for the government, private sector, and civil society to work together to ensure that the education system is equipped to provide young South Africans with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 4IR.
Below are examples of some such programmes globally:
The P-TECH program, a public-private partnership between IBM and the New York City Department of Education, which provides a six-year education and career program for high school students in under-served communities. https://www.ibm.com/p-tech/
The National Robotics Initiative (NRI), a partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and several private companies, which aims to accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States. https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=503511
The Workforce Data Quality Initiative, a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor and several private companies, which aims to improve the quality of workforce data and make it more accessible to job seekers, employers, and policymakers. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/wb/initiatives/workforce-data-quality
The Smart Columbus partnership between the City of Columbus, OH and a consortium of private companies, which aims to use technology to improve transportation and create new economic opportunities in the city. https://www.smartcolumbusos.com/
The Digital Promise Global League of Innovative Schools, a partnership between the Digital Promise organization and a network of public schools around the world, which aims to improve education through the use of technology. https://www.digitalpromise.org/initiative/global-league-of-innovative-schools/