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Ministerial Task Team on 4IR Draws Up Draft Report

June 29, 2020

Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation

The first draft report of the Ministerial Task Team (MTT) on 4IR has been drawn up.

The higher education, science and innovation minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, announced this during an address at the 4IR Virtual Conference organised by FUZE Business Initiative.

According to the minister, the draft report recommends that, in order for the post school education and training (PSET), science and innovation system to embrace and take advantage of the 4IR, it has to:

• support research and innovation (contribute to the 4IR); and
• equip lecturers and students to prepare for a world of work that is fundamentally different to today’s (building capacity for functioning in the 4IR), and
• embrace the 4IR in the PSET system, how it is managed, administered, equipped, teaching and learning taking place and how assessment is being done (impact of the 4IR on PSET).

Recommendations of the MTT include a PSET system with a strong core of education and training programmes focused on 4IR, access to high quality educational opportunities that meet a burgeoning and immediate demand for ‘digital skills’ in the labour market created by the 4IR, the need for a new wave of South African innovators and entrepreneurs centred in 4IR, increases in short, skilling opportunities for unemployed and underemployed South Africans and integrating 4IR into PSET programmes and courses.

The minister pointed out that “where policies and legislation are not in support of the 4IR, we must, as the President’s Commission has recommended, urgently revise and adapt them to be aligned with the 4IR”.

He confirmed that an Affiliate Centre of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Fourth Industrial Revolution Centre (C4IR) Network is being set up as a public-private partnership based at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

“Affiliate centres focus on issues of local concern, but also contribute to the overall research and thought leadership processes of the C4IR Network.”

The minister also indicated that government was developing an integrated country strategy on 4IR.

“The plan will include detailed interventions to be carried out in order to achieve global competitiveness through addressing national developmental imperatives in key economic sectors like agriculture, finance, mining, manufacturing and ICT.”

The Centre will also focus on developing governance frameworks and policies for 4IR in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning; blockchain and distributed ledger technology; autonomous and urban mobility; the Internet of Things, robotics and smart cities and drone technologies.