Stellenbosch University opens African data science academy

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 08 Jun 2020

To facilitate human capacity-building in data science and computational thinking in SA, the continent and abroad, Stellenbosch University (SU) has established the African Data Science Academy (ADSA).

The academy will develop and present open courses offered by SU’s School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, as well as bespoke courses developed for industry and academic partners.

Professor Kanshukan Rajaratnam, director for the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, invites academia and industry to partner with the ADSA for their training needs and would like to impact both researchers and professionals who want to build their skills in data science-related fields.

“The African Data Science Academy is a way for the School for Data Science and Computational Thinking to build capacity in this area, not just in South Africa and Africa, but across the world. It is an exciting moment where we can bring our world-class academics and internationally known Stellenbosch University quality to the rest of the world.

“ADSA does not just offer another online course, but adds value through interactions with our presenters, and delegates have the opportunity find out how to apply the principles in their own fields.”

The Stellenbosch-based university established its school last July, with the vision to be a world-class institution for data science and computational thinking in and for Africa, and enhance SA’s competitiveness in the fourth industrial revolution.

With the growing demand for data scientists in business and research fields, SA is under immense pressure to address this skills gap. Government has committed to train one million young people in data science and related skills by 2030, to ensure the country has the necessary human capital to meet the demands of the digital economy.

ADSA will, next month, be offering two accredited online short courses in partnership with the African Doctoral Academy at SU. Both courses will take place online from 20 to 24 July.

The first course is an introduction to statistics with R. R is a statistical software program particularly powerful in data analysis and graphical representation. This course offers an introduction in the application of the programming language R to statistical analysis, according to a statement.

The second course is an introduction to data science.

Rajaratnam says the short courses were designed with “high-touch activities in mind", such as reviews, quizzes, assignments and group work, as well as live or virtual question and answer sessions with the course presenters.

“The courses are taught by Stellenbosch University's own world-class lecturers from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science (introduction to statistics with R) and from the Department of Industrial Engineering (introduction to data science). The fact that we are offering these courses online allows for students in any part of the world to take these courses and allows us to take Stellenbosch University's world expert academics to the rest of the world.”

For more information, visit theSchool for Data Science and Computational Thinking Web site.