4IR Skills for Education Graduation 2019

Press Release: Technology Certification brings hope to High School Learners

On the 5thDecember 2019, a 4IR Skills for Education Graduation were held in Cape Town, the first ever in South Africa. The project focused on providing High School learners across the Cape Flats, during the FET period of Grade 11 and 12, providing them globally recognized industry certification which are currently in demand with the workforce.

South Africa’s education system was ranked 133rd out of 142 countries in the world by the World Economic Forum in 2018. What does that mean? South Africa has the most unequal school system in the world. Almost 20 years after the end of apartheid with South Africa having and one of the highest budget spending on education in the world (20% of GDP), the South African Education system still propagates the inequality of the apartheid era. The quality of education is pivotal for the production of human capital and economic growth and this cannot be compromised by failing to refocus on the quality of education offered in schools. Also, with the recent stats, South Africa unemployment amongst has reached to an alarming 60%.

The Further Education Training (FET) Curriculum in South Africa refers to Grade 10 to 12 subject matters and career-oriented education. Subjects listed under the FET Curriculum, assist High Schools to choose subjects based on the vocational careers they wish to pursue. The FET Phase is a crucial stage, where High School students are prepared over a period of 3 years to be ready for the potential workforce that awaits them. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a conundrum, where South African unskilled youth being unemployed, increases annually due to Grade 12 students exiting the educational system unskilled and unprepared for the workforce. The 4IR Skills for Education, an initiative of Genesis CITI (social enterprise), supported by Masterskill and Certiport, aims to address the educational subject issues through global vendor certification.

Genesis CITI (Centre Operator of the I-CAN Centre), a social enterprise, have launched a 4IR Skills for Education in support and funded by Western Cape Education, Masterskill and Certiport, where Grade 11 Accounting learners and teachers obtained recognized industry certification in QuickBooks, and Microsoft Certification for Grade 12 CAT students. The QuickBooks project started in May this year and ended in September. The 5-month program including learning about the renowned financial application called QuickBooks and undertake an international exam in the end. All students and teachers participated in the project, passed successfully. Also, Grade 12 CAT students became Microsoft Practitioners through global vendor certification in September, during school holidays, which served as an exam preparation tool.

G-CITI has identified the education subject “Computer Application Technology” or CAT as a potential game changer to enable 4IR Skills at high school level. The 4IR Skills project is where Grade 12 students undertake Microsoft international exams within productivity programs.  The Computer Application Technology (CAT) subject is where students learn about computers, Cyber Safety, networking and productivity applications. The subject plays a pivotal role in empowering high school students with digital literacy and some advance features to integrate technology in the workforce. 

The project took place at the I-CAN Centre, Elsies River within the Cape Flats region which is notorious for gang violence. In the midst of the crime on the increase, high school students find relief and comfort in being part of a project that is a game changer for South Africa. The schools that were part of the project were Zola Business School, Goodwood College, Elsies River High School, Bishop Lavis High School, John Ramsay High School, Rosendaal High School, Florida High School, Wallacedene High School, Cravenby High School, St. Andrews High School and Intsebenziswano High School.  

Abdur Raheem Parker, Grade 12 CAT student of Cravenby High School scored 100% in his international exam. With Certiport Competition requirements, Abdur automatically were enrolled for the MOS World Championship in 2020 in USA.

As the business world becomes more complex and specialized within the 4thIndustrial Revolution, the demand for individuals with recognized industry credentials will continue to intensify. Corporate governance reforms, an increasingly global business environment and rapidly changing technologies have fueled the need for professionals with advanced skills and up-to-date knowledge. Certification requirements are continually changing. The gap in certification has also been identified in its high costing to under global vendor exams. In the years ahead, organizations are likely to place even more value on certifications as a means of differentiating top job applicants. Accounting and finance managers look to professionals who can demonstrate their knowledge in specialized areas through a combination of work experience and the formal training and education gained — and confirmed — during the certification process.

The National Senior Certificate issued by the Department of Education and grading of subjects has become a national discussion on governmental levels, as the corporate sector are reluctant to employ Grade 12 students. This increases inevitably the high-unemployment rate and the digital divide in South Africa! 

The 4IR Skills for Education 2019 project promotes the A’s, Access, Affordability, Ability & Appetite, the essential ingredients that serves as continental transformation.

In June 2017, the G-CITI launched its first 4IR Skills for Education program called I-CAN Digital Winter School where 49 students were certified with Microsoft Certifications. Grade 11 and 12 students from various schools within surrounding Cape Flats benefitted from the project. Student Feedback were amazing as learners expressed how the technology exam and certificate built their confidence to write final exams. In September 2018, 27 Grade 12 students were certified in Microsoft Office Specialist Word and Excel. A 100% pass rate were achieved! In 2019, 70 Grade 12 CAT students from surrounding Cape Flats region were Microsoft certified, as an exam preparation approach funded by Western Cape Education Department from 24thSept to 12thOctober 2019. In total, 197

G-CITI has identified the CAT, Business Studies, Information Technology, Engineering Graphics and Design, Accounting as potential game changer subjects to enable 4IR Skills at high school level. Students undertaking these subjects can enroll with G-CITI Campus to write globally recognized industry certification, which acts as an equalizer to students that attend TVET Colleges and University.

In 2017, Junaid Serra (19) enrolled for the Digital Winter School while in Grade 11 at Roosendal High School, Delft. In his final year, he again attended the Digital Spring School where he obtained two Microsoft Certifications. After matric, Junaid could not further his tertiary studies in IT, due to no funds and parents being unemployed. The I-CAN Centre (G-CITI Campus) with its funding partner SANZAF, ensured that Junaid received 100% bursary to complete his IT Studies. After the 6 month training and global certification, Junaid obtained employment at Merchants, A Dimension Data company.

This clearly states that the I-CAN, is a winning model for young learners, whom wish to enter the job market with skills and certifications. 

Dr Glynis Schreuder, Chief Education Specialist of the FET Curriculum of WCED stated that, “global vendor skills and certification can contributed towards quality education for learners and promote entrepreneurship which the president has alluded in his speeches about education”.

The Masterskill and Certiport journey has been phenomenal for Genesis CITI. Masterkill, founded in 1995, is one of South Africa’s leading providers of IT and Business educational content and services to training centres, tertiary education institutions and corporate organisations. It has played a pivotal role in supporting Genesis CITI (I-CAN Centre) wholeheartedly, in ensuring that citizens obtain global vendor certification at an affordable costing. Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, was established in 1997 and is now the leading provider of certification exam development, delivery, and program management services. Certiport exams are delivered through an expansive network of over 14,000 Certiport Authorized Testing Centers worldwide, where Genesis CITI is one of them. The prestigious partnership between Genesis CITI, Masterskill and Certiport aims to upskill South Africa exponentially through direct facilitation and online subscription platforms.

Llewellyn Scholtz, Executive Director of GCITI & I-CAN Centre stated that “The future starts in the classroom”, in his graduation speech. Hebelieves that providing high school students with global vendor certification aligned with subject matter offered, will improve results and create a readiness for the workplace. He believes that these certifications can rectify past of education and prepare learners directly for the workforce. 

See Facebook Album on Graduation: Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3

See Official Video on 4IR Skills for Education – https://youtu.be/DBH_07yGKSg