SA must improve ICT education to create jobs, says minister

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Economic Development Hlengiwe Mkhize has said that education leaders in the country must do more to improve IT literacy if South Africa is to fulfill its ambition of creating five million jobs by 2020.

Mkhize told the Innovation Africa Summit in Cape Town that the ICT sector was one of the most important drivers of economic growth and job creation.

“The departments of education should ensure that computer skills are taught in all secondary schools and form part of the standard adult basic education and training (ABET) curriculum by 2015,” she said.

“All public servants should also receive ICT training. Achieving this aim urgently requires a plan to train educators, access relevant teaching skills elsewhere and establish computer centres for learners and communities.”

Mkhize said that building a knowledge-based society using ICT would allow South Africa to adapt to changing conditions and design solutions, enhancing competitiveness and growth potential.

South Africa’s government intends to add five million new jobs to the country’s economy by 2020 as part of its New Growth Path, launched in 2010, aimed at addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality levels.

Mkhize’s comments on South Africa’s education departments come days after the Department of Labour unveiled a five-year ICT strategy in order to improve efficiency and keep up with changing technologies.

The Department of Labour’s mandate covers regulation of the job market and creation of employment opportunities.

“A new paradigm has dawned upon us requiring that we reflect and take stock of the key lessons learned from previous experiences. While doing that, we need to better capacitate ourselves to deliver on the expectations of the masses of our people who have entrusted us with a mandate so clear that we dare not fail them,” said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant on the new strategy.

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