Higher education and training sector not yet ready for 4th industrial revolution?

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Universities, 4th industrial revolution
Higher Education and Training Minister Naledi Pandor to set up a multi-sectoral task team to investigate the higher education and training sector’s readiness for the fourth industrial revolution.
What is the fourth industrial revolution?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. It is marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles. #Wikipedia

Minister Naledi Pandor said it is vital for the department to devote dedicated attention to these changes and their implications for the country’s universities, colleges and community education and training.

“I intend to set up a multi-sectoral task team to investigate what is being done in research, teaching and outreach and how emerging technologies are being used to enhance our capabilities in our sector.

“I am aware that several universities have invested in research areas that explore boundaries beyond our current understanding of a range of processes and technologies. Significant investments have been made in nanotechnology, new approaches to agricultural technology, bioinformatics and other fields.

“We must ensure we build on these early developments and provide the necessary support in terms of skills and research funding,” she said.

Outlining some highlights that will be part of this year’s budget vote speech, Pandor said community colleges will focus on the development of a national policy for lecturer development.

She said the National Skills Fund will provide funding to train personnel at community education and training colleges in terms of IT infrastructure, governance and financial management.

“The project led by SAICA is expected to run over three years and has a budget of R149 million,” she said.

The Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education Programme, meanwhile, has been piloted and is now being scaled up this financial year.