Free IBM Online Initiative to Empower UKZN Community
UKZN’s Aerotropolis Institute Africa (AIA) in partnership with IBM recently launched Digital Nation Africa (DNA) - a free digital literacy and skills development initiative. This follows the finalisation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University and IBM.
IBM’s Academic Initiative’s Programme Manager in the skills academy Ms Angie Raseroka said even though such initiatives usually targeted staff and students in Information Systems or Computer Science, it could also be used by those in Law, Science and other disciplines. According to Raseroka, ‘DNA was equivalent to face-to-face modules accessible to people in their own time. Participants in the programme earn a badge for every completed module.’
The DNA initiative provides an online learning platform for young people to acquire digital literacy. It is aimed at empowering citizens, entrepreneurs, and communities with knowledge, tools and skills to innovate, design, develop and launch their own digital solutions, thus helping students and young people find jobs that suit their skills.
Raseroka demonstrated at the launch of the initiative how DNA works and took those present through each of the seven modules. The programme - available in English and Arabic - allows participants to look at case studies, watch related videos and download transcripts.
It is necessary to achieve at least 80% for each completed module. A certificate is issued at the end of the programme.
Modules such as Cloud Computing and Coding will teach participants how to develop their own applications.
Raseroka said that IBM’s aim was to give back to Africa and its communities while providing assistance to the youth on the continent and contribute to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). She said IBM knew that data was a challenge and they were working with government and municipalities to provide free internet access in designated areas around the country.
UKZN’s Dr Rudi Kimmie advised staff and students that this was a learning platform and in order to learn, people needed to invest the time.
Participants were encouraged to spread the word to their families, friends and their communities.
Words: Sithembile Shabangu
Photograph: Albert Hirasen