'E-literate society' is minister's goal [Star, The (South Africa)]
(Star, The (South Africa) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Tomorrow starts here.
This was the main message brought across at the Cisco Networking Academy, where the information and communications technology (ICT) industry came together to discuss opportunities and developments in their field.
The conference, Southern Africa Safari 2014, was hosted by Cisco, the world's largest manufacturer of network-connecting products.
Cisco managing director Alpheus Mangale said there was a need to improve skills and train people in order for them to be able to take part in the economy.
He said it was important to set up partnerships with the government, non-profit organisations, business and education to improve the continent through technology.
Mangale mentioned President Jacob Zuma's goal that all of South Africa should be connected by 2020.
He said that if this goal were achieved, it would give an opportunity to a person coming from the rural areas to have the same ability - through connectivity and the internet - as a person who wakes up in Sandton.
This, he said, would change the landscape of South Africa and the world fundamentally.
Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Siyabonga Cwele gave the keynote address at the conference.
He said the government was not blind to the technologies that were taking over the world, and how important it was to be part of the connection and unleash the potential of South Africans in the digital economy.
"ICT growth has become characteristic of how we live," he said.
Cwele said the majority of South Africans should have total access to the internet through mobile devices by 2025 through the country's broadband policy, "South Africa Connect".
"Infrastructure alone won't help; people have to know how to use it," Cwele said.
He said the aim was to have an "e-literate society" by 2030. Cwele urged Cisco to continue to collaborate, |co-ordinate and stimulate |e-skills development.
Cwele also said that the government would have to exert itself more in order to ensure the participation of more women in the male-dominated ICT industry.
He urged companies to companies to train more women and increase their skills levels.
"How do we maximise as government and direct the private sector to invest, as government can't roll out networks alone. We must find ways of talking to the private sector," he said.
Cwele said his department would be working with the Department of Basic Education to ensure technology training began at the foundation phase.
He said it was important to adapt teachers to a paperless environment and to give them the skills to use technology as an efficient tool.
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