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Comms ministry eyes collaboration to digitally skill SA youth

Read time 2min 30sec
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister in the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, minister in the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), which is charged with driving SA’s ICT agenda, is proactively seeking partnerships that will help young people to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital economy.

This is according to DCDT minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who explains this move comes as digital skills have been identified as critical for future jobs.

Ndabeni-Abrahams made the comments during her address at a “Youth Masterclass on Digital Skills Development Opportunities” webinar hosted by the Government Communication and Information System, in partnership with the DCDT, to commemorate Youth Day.

“As government, one of our key objectives is to ensure young people are well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities presented by digital transformation,” says the minister.

“For this reason, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies is proactively seeking partnerships that will help us achieve this objective.”

Ndabeni-Abrahams’s department has, in the past, lauded collaborative efforts to upskill South African youth.

In a statement, the minister expresses that government, the private sector, youth organisations, non-governmental organisations and non-profit organisations have an important role in the digital skilling of the youth, as well as to ensure they have access to the necessary infrastructure.

“The youth of today is presented with opportunities brought by the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and requires the youth to be fully equipped with the necessary digital skills. This will empower them to contribute to the digital economy, while addressing other pressing issues that are facing our country.

“The 4IR era presents various technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of things, big data, data science, blockchain and other technologies that are bringing transformation in all dimensions of life. It provides an opportunity to advance socio-economic development.”

The minister adds: “The speed of change in science and technology demands an equal speed in acquiring the skills that the industry demands. The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has developed the National Digital and Future Skills strategy, whose objective is to establish an education and skills development ecosystem that provides all South Africans with the required skills to create and participate in the digital economy.

“The department is collaborating with both the public and private sector, with the intent to bridge the digital divide. For this reason, our training programmes will be conducted everywhere in South Africa, including the remote areas.”

According to Ndabeni-Abrahams, the communications ministry is also partnering with the Department of Higher Education to establish high-tech classrooms in technical and vocational education and training colleges countrywide.

“These classrooms will not only be used by registered students, but unemployed youth will equally benefit.

“We want to see innovation from every single corner of this country.” 

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