Time running out to save jobs from robots

JOHANNESBURG– ALREADY battling rampant unemployment, South Africa is racing against time to bridge the digital skills divide amid fears some jobs would be lost to technology in the next four years.

There are projections half of all work tasks will be handled by tech-enabled machines by 2025.

According to experts, it is essential that today’s local graduates are empowered to embrace the digital face of the future.

This can be done by bridging the gap between the skills that the tech industry requires and the caliber of job seekers on offer.

For this reason, a local education technology provider, HyperionDev, has partnered with Africa’s largest distance-learning institution, the University of South Africa (UNISA) Enterprise, to offer students relevant skills.

The entities have entered into an agreement to launch a three-month computer science bootcamp.

They offer a programme that helps students to study through the online bootcamp format of learning as well as achieve a recognised accreditation from a tertiary institution.

There is an option to go further and complete a three-year computer science degree.

Riaz Moola, the HyperionDev Chief Executive Officer, said bootcamps could be viewed as alternative credentials.

“They are a fast-paced career accelerator that can quickly land participants a job as a software developer or data scientist, rather than a traditional university degree which takes years to complete,” he explained.

Moola maintained that the qualification would not rival a university degree.

“We’re not trying to replace universities,” he said.

The ed-tech sector, with a global market value of almost US$90 million, is estimated to grow at 20 percent a year over the next seven years.

HyperionDev has set aside $240 million for scholarships.

Backed by Facebook and Google has trained 100 000 students to date.

HyperionDev is also in negotiations with several public and private universities in South Africa as well as Australia, United Kingdom (UK), and United States (US).

“There’s a huge demand for high-quality online education and very high interest from universities and how they enter that space with partners,” Moola stated.

– CAJ News

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