The University of the Witwatersrand has partnered with Telkom subsidiary BCX and Alibaba Cloud, to empower its students with cloud computing skills in preparation for Africa’s digital economy.
This, after BCX last month announced it had expanded the Alibaba Cloud Academy to SA, to upskill youth and C-level executives in cloud computing.
Alibaba Cloud Academy provides over 130 online and in-person certification courses that prepare customers, partners and developers to tackle cloud solutions with Alibaba Cloud products.
According to a statement, the new collaboration sees Wits becoming the first local university to adopt the Alibaba Cloud Academic Empowerment Programme for third-year students in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics.
The programme is designed to infuse emerging digital skills into academic institutions worldwide.
It includes Alibaba Cloud certifications as part of the BSc Computer Science qualification, with the primary intention of equipping graduates with industry sought-after skills and certifications, making them more employable.
The programme officially launched last week, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by all the partners, followed by the official start of the first Wits, BCX and Alibaba Cloud Holiday School initiative.
"Wits is excited to partner with BCX and Alibaba Cloud to bring this opportunity to our students,” says associate professor Richard Klein from the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Wits University.
“With the cloud holding many of the emergent fourth industrial revolution technologies, equipping our graduates with the skills to manage such infrastructure is essential.
“Furthermore, addressing the digital divide in Africa by driving digital transformation is one of the key strategic priorities for the university in the next decade. To achieve this, working with partners in industry and across sectors to accelerate the learning curve for students and equip them with highly sought-after skillsets is vital.”
The top students from the academic empowerment programme will become a feeder into the BCX Alibaba Cloud graduate programme, resulting in the development of a talent pipeline of Alibaba cloud engineers for SA and Africa, as a whole.
“This collaboration is ushering in a new era of innovation and skills development. By introducing Alibaba Cloud as part of the prospectus for BSc Computer Science students, we are not just embracing innovative technology, but also cultivating a generation of forward-thinking individuals equipped with the skills and ability needed to thrive in the digital landscape,” says Jan Bouwer, chief solutions officer at BCX.
“This collaboration symbolises our commitment to empowering students with real-world, industry-relevant knowledge, ensuring they are well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Together, we are shaping the future of technology education and fostering a community of innovators ready to lead in the dynamic world of cloud computing," he adds.
The training is structured for students to learn, experiment and accelerate through online learning, online labs, classroom training and certification.
Accordig to Wits, the benefits to students include:
- Industry-recognised certification which would attract the attention of potential employers.
- Sought-after skillsets required by the cloud computing industry.
- Exposure to the newest Alibaba Cloud technology via courses and events.
- Continuous self-paced learning via the academy portal.
- Student servers to allow real life experience on mini projects in the cloud.
- Opportunities to upskill and participate in an international competition.