2009 Tutu Fellow Geci Karuri-Sebina PhD has been appointed to the Fourth Industrial Revolution - 4IR - Task Team by Naledi Pandor, the former South African Minister of Higher Education & Training. Geci had coordinated for South Africa an African Development Bank study on the 4th Industrial Revolution and the Future of Work in Africa. The appointment was one of Naledi's last acts as Minister before relinquishing the portfolio when President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed his new cabinet. Geci forms part of an eight-member team with the task of providing advice on managing both the threats and the opportunities provided by the fourth industrial revolution.
4IR is a term that refers to the confluence of technologies that will impact how people live and work and includes artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies.
This team was developed to address the influence of emerging science and technologies in 4IR and the need for responsive skills that will be necessary to take advantage of the opportunities they present. These changes are expected to disrupt sectors from manufacturing to the service industry, impacting nearly six-million jobs in South Africa in the next seven years.
Bo Xing from the University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Intelligent Systems chairs the team of eight. This team must identify the priority interventions that should be undertaken by the Minister to advance skills that will respond to the demands of the changing technological landscape. Along with Geci and Bo Xing, the members include: Zeblon Vilakazi, with University of the Witwatersrand; Colin Thakur with Durban University of Technology; Nicola Galombik, the founder of the Harambee Youth Accelerator; Zamantungwa Khumalo with Mail & Guardian; Ilse Karg of the Department of Trade and Industry; and Adrianna Martin from SAP Africa.
The main objectives of the task team are to identify current 4IR initiatives in institutions in the Post School Education and Training (PSET) system, such as significant programs taking advantage of the 4IR, as well as external initiatives impacting on the PSET system; to analyze the impact on the PSET system, and identify priority areas and interventions that should be undertaken at Ministerial level to advance digital skills and absorption by industry. The team will then produce a report of their findings and make recommendations. The work of this task force is expected to conclude January of 2020.
Geci follows in the footsteps of two other Tutu Fellows who are undertaking similar efforts on behalf of Uganda.
You can read the official announcement on the South African Government website.