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National Digital and Future Skills Strategy in Place

September 28, 2020

Department of Communications and Digital Technologies

The National Digital and Future Skills Strategy has been published.

The communications and digital technologies department published the Strategy in Government Gazette 43730.

The Strategy was drawn up terms of Chapter 12 of the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper of 2016 and Chapter 4 of the National e-Strategy of 2017.

According to the executive summary, the Strategy envisages a society of digitally skilled South Africans.

It sets out a “structured series of initiatives intended to contribute to the capacities of South Africans to meet the challenges arising from the increasing deployment and adoption of digital technologies in economy and society, understanding that the digital revolution (using cloud technologies that enable big data; bringing virtual and augmented reality into a real world environment; introducing autonomous vehicles and drones; making Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing part of everyday life) occurs within the context of the broader Fourth Industrial Revolution (working with advanced materials, biotechnology innovations, and the wider landscape of scientific innovation)”.

The Strategy focuses on eight strategy elements for the evolution of digital skills:

• Strategy Element 1: digital foundations: basic and intermediate digital skills.
• Strategy Element 2: digital futures and mastery: building advanced digital skills.
• Strategy Element 3: skills for industry 4.0 and the world of work.
• Strategy Element 4: creating society 4.0 and addressing the digital skills divide.
• Strategy Element 5: building digital skills awareness.
• Strategy Element 6: research and monitoring on digital skills.
• Strategy Element 7: co-ordination across government, industry, labour and other stakeholder groups.
• Strategy Element 8: funding for digital skills.

The Strategy is designed to provide a roadmap for priority digital skills action points and stakeholder collaboration.

Highlights in the Strategy include upgrading teacher digital skills and competencies; digital infrastructure and Internet connectivity in schools; CoLabs, digital tech hubs and incubators; open online courses; research on digital skills, digital disruption and the labour market and public campaigns for digital skills.

The department plans to develop a five-year comprehensive Digital and Future Skills Implementation programme and will revise and update the Strategy through a formal public consultation process every five years.