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Tech Africa needs unlearning and relearning to embrace Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)

Technological advancements are increasingly threatening Africa’ growing economy as the continent often finds itself ill equipped in dealing with these developments. Hot on the heels of spiralling unemployment rates is the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) that is currently taking the global financial spectrum by storm.  The 4IR has brought the future here through the digitalisation of almost everything. But these technological advancements will continue to affect jobs and the reliance on labour and employment. An attribute that Africa cant afford to have. 

 

By Farai Diza, at Durban

 

 

Powerful new technologies are emerging that will foster growth but will also affect individuals in numerous ways and will definitely have an impact on the economy, society and personal quality of life.

 

An IT specialist based in Durban, South Africa, Mr Mohammed Saeed, is challenging African governments to rethink the academic sector in order to adequately prepare for the 4IR tsunami.

 

“A better approach in dealing with this challenge would be unlearn, relearn and revolutionize teaching and learning in order to manage the mismatch in the work environment, create employment, sustain jobs and build the work force for the future,” he said.

 

Mr Saeed stated that the world is headed towards the right direction from what he experienced as a student and the ominous task lies at developing an education curriculum that equips students with the correct technology skills and knowledge.

 

“Today with the dawn of the 4IR, technology and trends such as social media, videos, the internet, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, just to name a few are changing the way we communicate, live and work”

 

“Many decades ago, while studying in India, if I had to communicate with my parents back home, it was a lengthy process. I had to write a letter, physically go to the post office, buy stamps and then post the letter and wait about a month for the response. A similar process was followed by my parents to reply. In this chain of process, humans used to work. Today with the dawn of the 4IR, technology and trends such as social media, videos, the internet, robotics, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, just to name a few are changing the way we communicate, live and work,” he added.

 

Within seconds and in real time, virtual reality now allows anyone to connect and socialise on genuinely human levels, with family, friends and business partners across the globe.

 

In South Africa, some school teachers are already cultivating the technology culture in their students by motivating their students to promote their studies through technology. And the concept is working.

 

Collegiate Girls High school history and geography teacher Mr Lee Raynor has ‘unbanned’ mobile phones in his classroom by allowing his class to tweet about what they have learnt during lessons.

 

He said this was a clever way of preparing his pupils for 4IR.

 

To improve the quality of teaching and learning so that pupils are better prepared for the job market in the 4IR epoch

 

“What I do, two minutes before the end of each lesson is I stop teaching and encourage my students to take out their cellphones and ask them to tweet the most important thing they learnt in that lesson. Each class has a different hashtag which they use in their tweets. I then search the hash tag and it then brings up all of that class’s tweets and I then see what the learners thought was the most important thought of the lesson,” he alluded.

 

He said one of the most important things about this method was that it also allowed pupils to easily catch up on missed school work.

 

Mr Raynor’s stance is a foundation laying initiative that draws students to use technology productively.

 

The idea is to improve the quality of teaching and learning so that pupils are better prepared for the job market in the 4IR epoch.