From 26 to 28 July, the South African Department of Communications, through the Meraka e-Skills Institute, will host an e-Skills Summit at the Cape Sun in Cape Town. The objective of the Summit is to develop an inclusive and comprehensive approach to addressing the lack of Information and Communications Technology skills in the South African economy.
Says Deputy Minister of Communications Dina Pule: “As a country we cannot continue to miss out on the benefits at a local level of ensuring that people have the necessary training to leverage technologies that enable communication, transactions and SMME development, particularly in poor rural and urban communities.
“We need a concerted effort across Business, Government, Education and Civil Society (including Labour) to develop a collective framework for a National e-Skills Plan of Action that has meaning and relevance at the local community level and leverages the knowledge, lessons learnt and institutional memory of all key stakeholder groups to maximise impact, particularly amongst the most disadvantaged in our society.’
The South African Government has recognised that providing e-skills for its citizens is fundamental to addressing the country’s socio-economic challenges, and if implemented correctly the country would be in a better position to be part of the emerging Information Society and knowledge economies.
A generalised lack of e-skills is a real impediment to South Africa meeting its commitments to its Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), the Millennium Development Goals for Africa (MDGs), and the World Summit on Information Society Plan of Action. The lack of broad-based skills is also vital in dealing with poverty reduction, sustainable livelihoods, intensifying the fight against crime, building cohesive communities, international cooperation, and in building a developmental state.