14 June 2011
The Department of Science and Technology and Microsoft South Africa have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the two fast-tracking high-performance computing, human capital and enterprise development in the country.
According to Science and Technology Director-General Phil Mjwara and Microsoft South Africa MD Mteto Nyati, the deal will pave the way for foreign direct investment in research and development and harness existing ICT skills programmes to support knowledge-generating capacity.
The focus of the partnership is on increasing participation by students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We also plan to jointly establish world-class research infrastructure with relevant science councils and higher education institutions,” said Mjwara, following the signing in Pretoria this week. “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.”
Growth through ICT
The department and multinational private sector partners have a solid framework against which to quality-check projects in which they are engaged together.
“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,” Nyati said, adding that the 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.”
Key work competencies
Nyati explained that the goal of the programme is to give students the key work competencies they will need to excel in future: “To date, 350 employer partners and 15 training providers, academic institutions and NGOs have partnered with the programme,” he said.
“The department’s backing should encourage more corporates to share in the obligation of reducing unemployment among the youth by supporting technology and business-related graduates.”