The pace for Africa to move into the 4th Industrial Revolution remains creepy especially on skills development, African scholars warned.
On Monday, Rwanda hosted the 5th Regional Forum for the Partnership in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET).
The forum, attended by global academicians, Ministers and top government officials from across the continent, seeks to solicit ways on how the continent can revolutionalise skills development in order to join other global giants already involved in the 4th industrial revolution.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century.
Africa has missed the first eras and this is the right time to move forward, experts at the forum advised.
The 4th Industrial revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is distorting the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems.
Last year, the world reached a milestone of 50% of global the population being online, while Africa’s internet penetration remains below the average, at 31%.
The forum seeks to push the continent’s commitment to continue investing in fundamental skills, digital skills and higher education, among others.
Speaking while opening the forum, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr. Edourd Ngirente said that digital literacy among African schools will accelerate the continent to adopt 4th Industrial revolution.
“It is through digital literacy and advanced skills acquired in Higher Education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training that Africa will be able to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said.
According to Prime Minister Ngirente, one of the key principles of Africa’s Education Strategy is the consideration of quality and relevant education, training and research as core for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.
However, Africans still underrate the need to upgrade skills at all age group in order to move with the rest of the world, according to Dr. Kevit Desai –Principal Secretary in the State Department of Vocational and Technical Education (TVET) in Kenya’s Ministry of Education.
“We sometimes take for granted how important it is to upgrade the skills throughout one’s life, and how transformative it is to be able to enter opportunities,” he said.
“The 4iR will highly depend on standards. They play a significant role with a direct link to training and education: precise, exacting, and a true enabler to implementation,” Dr. Kevit Desai added.
Dr. Eugene Mutimura, Rwanda’s Minister of Education said the forum’s ultimate goal is to build skills required to produce relevant technologies for Africa’s innovators, entrepreneurs and future leaders.