Institutions of higher learning must remind themselves that industries are profit-making entities. Our job is to demonstrate our worth or end up becoming redundant. If we cannot provide the services that the sector requires because they doubt our delivery or standards, they will seek out other institutions of learning. We must, therefore, understand our industries so that we can identify gaps that if filled, will make them more substantial profits. We have identified some issues in the mining industry and come up with solutions.
Our research successes in the mining industry have helped us build great partnerships that further our agenda. Universities must step away from having an entitled attitude when dealing with industry and instead develop their value proposition.
We are not restricting ourselves to the four corners of the lecture room; we are embedding technology in everything that we do. The fact that you can take classes from work or home is evidence of that. Government intervention is also essential in making life much easier for education providers. An enabling environment will enable educators to provide quality education for the human resource base that they want to train. Short courses for employees in tech industries are provided much to the delight of employers. It is up to those employees to make themselves available for classes or risk being redundant. We must ensure that we can educate our workforce by introducing them to continuous training and allowing them to attend short courses.
We are big on utilising our resources to the maximum and that’s the foundation of our philosophy.
Our philosophy is described by two words in our Ndebele dialect, which are Kuziva ne Kugona. Kuziva means a deep understanding of one’s circumstances, environment, and opportunities. Kugona is about proficiency, competency, and capacity.
I certainly believe Africa can rise to the occasion and do right by its people in terms of technology. We, however, have to go slow on technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). The sheer number of unemployed people here means that we are not ready for robots to replace human labor. AI can work in some sectors like agriculture, but I don’t think we are ready for an AI dominated workplace.