Department of Science and Innovation
The Draft National Open Science Policy has been approved by the Open Science Advisory Board for stakeholder consultation.
The science and innovation department confirmed this in a recent briefing in parliament on Quarter 2 and 3 performance for 2021/22.
The department added that the draft policy aims to “democratise access to knowledge by fostering open science practices in South Africa, which is useful for teaching and training, the economy, public policy, citizens and society as a whole”.
Other developments highlighted by the department include:
• Ministerial Plenary on Integrating the Humanities and Social Sciences into the COVID-19 response convened by the department in December 2021 – inter alia, identified knowledge gaps and evidence needs that can be addressed through interdisciplinary research; reviewed the social science expertise gained through local, regional, and national approaches, strategies and initiatives for inclusive, people and community-centred responses to the COVID-19 pandemic; facilitated new perspectives to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic through citizen engagement and participation and underscored the critical importance of knowledge integration and synthesis.
• Departmental support for demonstration of 3D printing of houses through the use of additive materials technologies – designed to align South Africa’s effort to transition sustainable human settlements to smart, green and sustainable settlements in the context of 4IR and climate change; boosted by the launch of the Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Human Settlements Roadmap that established a multi-stakeholder innovation Compact for the sector for the next 10 years in support of the Decadal Plan.
• Memorandum of Understanding signed with the United Nations Development Programme in November 2021 to provide a framework for non-exclusive cooperation and facilitate and strengthen collaboration in identified areas of common interest – include support for the Science Technology and Innovation Diplomacy Framework with African countries through technical expertise.
• Editing and printing of the Final Decadal Plan to be finalised by the end of the financial year.
Meanwhile, in an address at the Ministerial Community Education and Training Summit, the higher education, science and innovation minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, confirmed that negotiations in Nedlac on the Draft Post School Education and Training Skills Strategy have been concluded.
The plan now is for the Strategy to be finalised and approved for implementation.
The minister pointed out that one of the key pillars of the Strategy is the expansion of short skills programmes – accredited and unaccredited.
“I know this has been one of the debates in NEDLAC and I am happy that parties seem to be finding each other on this matter”, he said.