KZN boosts ICT training

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An additional 10 000 students from the province are set to undergo intensive ICT training over the next five years, says KwaZulu-Natal MEC for economic development Dr Zweli Mkhize.

Mkhize said the provincial Departments of Economic Development and Education will collaborate on a skills development programme with Indian institutes - the National Institute for Information Technology (NIIT) and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

He added that the country has a lot to learn from the development of the Indian economy, saying: “It has developed into one of the highly successful developing economies because they have invested in critical skills development. Their ICT sector has shown astronomical growth over the past few decades and we have also seen Indian companies expanding their business operations across the world.”

The initiative follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in July 2008, where the two countries agreed to partner in the creation of an ICT skills development programme.

In keeping with the national government's initiatives to promote the local business process outsourcing industry, the Economic Development Department says the partnership will also be directed at using NIIT's expertise to improve ICT and BPO skills as a means of accelerating economic growth in the province.

Students will get theoretical training in educational centres in the province and will then be transferred to complete a year's practical training in India. The department hopes this exchange will equip candidates with the competencies which will contribute to economic growth in the province.

Students will be trained in the areas of software engineering, networking, Web site development, database development and integration of Web site development, computer programming and databases.

The department says both parties will ensure the NIIT courses are infused in qualifications offered in the province's colleges and universities. They will also be working towards the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Talent Development with courses accredited by the South African Qualifications Agency.

Mkhize also stated the provincial government was making progress in the BPO industry, saying the department would, “in due course” indicate the number of jobs that will be created through the establishment of BPO centres attached to government departments.

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