SYSPRO Africa to tackle Africa’s ICT skills shortage

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As high end ICT skills become increasingly in demand, a partnership between the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) Department of Computing Sciences and SYSPRO is using new technologies in innovative ways, to address the ICT skills shortfall.

With a focus on Business Process Management and ERP skills, which are in short supply across Africa, the partnership has resulted in the introduction of a new BCom Information Systems degree programme, as well as collaborative projects harnessing social media and mobile to deliver training across the continent.

Speaking ahead of the SYSPRO Africa 2013 User Conference to be staged in Johannesburg next week, Professor Andre Calitz of the Department of Computing Sciences at NMMU says: “The ICT skills shortage in South Africa, specifically in the ERP field, is of national concern and industry is increasingly relying on tertiary institutions to address this skills crisis.”

“While industry has indicated growing ERP skills requirements, a limited number of tertiary institutions are offering education in the ERP field,” says Calitz.

In addition, the overall ICT skills pool faces the challenge of universities not taking in their maximum capacity of students, because a limited number of scholars pass mathematics and science in matric with the necessary requirements.

In addition, the overall ICT skills pool faces the challenge of universities not taking in their maximum capacity of students, because a limited number of scholars pass mathematics and science in matric with the necessary requirements.

Prof Calitz says research indicates that mobile and social media can be highly effective in delivering ERP training across large geographical areas. One such social media platform is SecondLife, with over 700 universities offering courses using this platform.
Noting the growing importance of mobile, Prof Calitz believes mobile apps can play a key role in delivering ICT learning and generating interest in careers in ICT.

“By combining the lack of ICT skills, the massive global usage of the Internet and web portals, and mobile development, we can see that there has become a need for a mobile ICT career app. Currently, career apps tend to focus on recruitment, rather than education and career guidance. School children and students are not given enough ICT qualification information and career guidance and a possible way to get around this issue is to create ICT awareness amongst scholars and students using mobile apps.”

Innovation and collaboration to address the ICT skills shortfall will come under discussion at the SYSPRO Africa 2013 User Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa from 25 to 27 November 2013.

The event will also address key CIO concerns, a financial focus stream and developer tracks.

For more information about this event, go to: www.syspro.com/africa/userconference2013/index

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