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How will AI transform SA education in the 4IR?

by Nicole Ferreira | Visitor Liaison Manager |

Many people feel that 4IR is just a catch phrase that is being bandied about to make conversations sound relevant and important. There are pundits out there who believe that South Africa is not ready for 4IR, and that we should rather focus on basics before we want to run with the proverbial ‘big dogs’. Some feel that we are putting the cart before the horse, with Minister Angie Motshekga’s roll out of a digital curriculum in 2020. But are we really not ready for this? Should we relook at the plan from scratch?

I don’t believe the question should be about the readiness of the system to be able to implement this change, but rather about the readiness of the people to embrace and accept this advancement. A lack of understanding of 4IR, and all aspects of Artificial Intelligence, Virtual and Mixed Reality, creates fear and distrust amongst people. Many people feel that they will not be able to compete in the new way of life, and that they will lose their jobs and become redundant as Artificial Intelligence takes on a more prominent role in our daily lives.

It is up to us, as educators, to show the youth the boundless possibilities and opportunities that 4IR creates. In understanding the interconnectivity of technology, the importance of fluidity in skill sets, and the value of integrating AI into the classroom, people will be more likely to accept the transition.

AI is fast becoming a way of life in classrooms in China, where most learning aids and assistants are now AI. It is used extensively in teaching learners with different needs, with great success, as a robot can explain a concept over and over, without ever getting mad, or rolling its eyes. Smart boards, behavioural predictive apps, and advanced interactive learning programmes are here to stay; they are stream-lining the teaching process and the learning experience. By adding the digital curriculum to our classrooms, we are enabling our children to grasp these changes more readily and making future opportunities more accessible to everyone.

Make sure you bring your school to experience the future first-hand, as we walk them through a city of tomorrow, in a unique Next Level Careers and Skills Summit. virtuoCITY is coming to Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2020 to showcase the interconnectivity of technology and the impact on all careers and industries within 4IR. Introduce them to real AI and together understand that it is indeed not something to shy away from, but rather to welcome and use to create a better, more prosperous life for all.

Save the date for your school’s first term outing:

CAPE TOWN: 19 to 21 March 2020, CTICC

JOHANNESBURG: 13 to 16 May 2020, Ticketpro Dome

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