DST, Microsoft to advance ICT skills
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft SA to fast-track high-performance computing, human capital development and enterprise development.
The MoU was signed earlier today by the Director-General of the DST, Phil Mjwara and Microsoft MD, Mteto Nyati.
The signing of the MoU is expected to pave the way for foreign direct investment in research and development and harness existing ICT skills programmes to support a knowledge-generating capacity.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mjwara said the DST also planned to jointly establish world-class research infrastructure with relevant science councils and higher education institutions.
“We now have a dedicated framework to help us determine what space in the ICT value chain would be best served by public-private partnerships,” Mjwara added.
The first drive is to increase innovation and entrepreneurship in ICT among undergraduate students and learners from higher education institutions and further education and training colleges, by elevating Microsoft’s Imagine Cup student competition with the DST’s backing.
“As our local programmes are designed to help government address its five key priorities – especially skills, jobs and rural access – partnering with the DST will better coordinate our efforts to create an enabling environment for growth through ICT,” said Nyati.
The focus of the partnership is on increasing participation by students and learners from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
“This intervention will expose students and learners to innovation and business skills early on during their studies. The students will be further provided with opportunities to use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to help solve real-world global challenges and see that they can make a difference in the world,” said Mjwara.
Addressing job creation, the DST’s support of Microsoft’s Student 2 Business (S2B) skills for employability programme – which has to date trained 5 500 students in partnership with the Information Systems, Electronics and Telecommunications Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority – should draw in a wider net of much-needed corporate participation in the internship programme.
Nyati explains that the goal of the programme is to give students the key work competencies they will need to excel in future jobs…
” This develops a stronger base of local skills within the local technology economy. To date, 350 employer partners and 15 training providers, academic institutions and NGOs have partnered with us in the programme.”
“The DST’s backing should encourage more corporates to share in the obligation of reducing unemployment among the youth by supporting technology and business-related graduates,” Nyati concluded.