President Ramaphosa of South Africa has said that the ageing developed countries and a young African population present the African continent with the opportunity to create future jobs.
President Ramaphosa therefore called on African leaders to grab the opportunities that arise from challenges of the developed world, including an ageing population.
African countries, he explained, must be adequately prepared by developing their young populations.
The President was speaking on Monday at the Association for the Development of Education in Africa’s High-Level Annual Policy Dialogue Forum on Secondary Education, holding at Kempton Park.
At the forum, participants are reflecting on, and design and implement innovative models required in secondary education in Africa.
“This forum’s focus on ‘Preparing Youth for the Future of Work’ reflects our understanding that Africa’s demographic dividend can only be earned through our investment in the continent’s highest-yielding resource: its young people,” said the President.
To achieve this, the President said young people must be given the tools through appropriate secondary education that will see them actively participate in the transforming future of work and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“Due to the skills deficit, our countries are ill-prepared for technological change.
“We therefore need to change the direction of secondary school education if we are to develop relevant skills for the new type of economy,” said the President.
He emphasised the need for educational systems to focus on digital skills, such as coding, critical thinking coupled with soft skills such as emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.
“The assumption we often make that every learner is destined to enter a tertiary institution needs to be re-examined, and our secondary education systems restructured accordingly.
“Our schools need to form part of a comprehensive society-wide response to the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said the President.
In preparation for this, the President said secondary education must empower young people by getting the basics right earlier in their lives.
“Without realising these goals, we stand no chance of succeeding in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.