IN an effort to upskill and reskill, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has launched a post-graduate Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) programme.
The postgraduate programme will start with a cohort of 20 postgraduate students receiving bursaries to the value of R90 000 each.
“It is envisaged these students would go on to make a positive impact on society by shaping skills, pioneering industries, and empowering industries with their research findings,” DUT said.
According to DUT, this is aimed at realising the highest levels of the government’s strategic plans for societal and industrial reforms, as well as to narrow the growing digital divide brought about by the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
The university said the training is done in collaboration with five leading researchers across South African tertiary institutions.
“These centres of higher learning are at the cusp of innovations that critically interrogate and address the technological skills shortage and, in so doing, are developing systems and labour ready for the modern economy,” DUT said.
DUT's Ritson Campus, which is based in Durban, will be at the forefront of the programme.
The chair of this programme was awarded to Professor Oludayo Olugbara, executive dean of the faculty of accounting and informatics at DUT.
When commenting on the chair, DUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor of research, innovation, and engagement Sibusiso Moyo said he was elated that this is the third SETA chair that DUT is hosting.
“It is aligned to the systems and processes and society perspectives of DUT’s ENVISION2030, and will ensure we can contribute to having an innovative curriculum, as well as contribute to DUT having appropriate 4IR infrastructure to support our innovation and ensure we have the state-of-the-art infrastructure. Congratulations to Professor Olugbara for leveraging additional resources through the chair,” said Professor Moyo.
According to DUT, its faculty’s state-of-the-art equipment adorns high-tech laboratories for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Robotics. In addition, there are fully equipped computer laboratories to support postgraduate research in IoT, drone-based computing systems, robotics programming, and computing networks.
“Research on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in 12 developed economies reveals that AI could double annual economic growth rates by 2035 and could increase labour productivity by up to 40%, increasing efficiency. This, while South Africans continue to feel the pinch of unemployment. Identifying optimal solutions to the expected job displacements requires a rethinking of education, science, technology, and innovation systems,” said DUT.
Media, Information and Technologies Sector (MICT) SETA board chairperson Simphiwe Thobela said: “As a global leader in the development and delivery of revolutionary Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills, it was imperative for us, as the MICT SETA, to heed the challenge of Africa being left behind, as the world races to closely embrace 4IR.
“Our goal is to mould a new generation of African ICT postgraduate students, well-equipped to apply new thinking and knowledge through ultramodern technologies, that will bring much-needed novel solutions for persistent challenges, in critical sectors like health care, agriculture, education, finance, and education.”