Government offers youth free online courses

Government launches free digital skills learning programmes to address youth unemployment.

Government has unveiled a free online learning programme that focuses on digital skills in an attempt to address youth unemployment and improve digital literacy in the country.

The programme is part of a plan to upskill one million unemployed youth by 2030 and aims to equip South Africa’s unemployed youth with the skills to compete in a digitally-driven marketplace.

According to Statistics South Africa’s Third Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2020, 43 percent of young people aged 15 to 34 years are not in employment, education or training. The programme’s initial uptake will be 50,000 students

The initiative is led by communications and technology minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams and is a collaborative effort between the National Electronic Media Institute of SA (Nemisa) which is facilitating registrations, and the American-based online course provider, Coursera. “It is our responsibility to get young people ready for the digital society that we are talking about. We will be building a capable 4IR army,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams during the digital launch of the new learning initiative.

Applications opened on 10 November and will close on 30 November 2020. Successful applicants will be enrolled in courses as guided by Coursera’s Global Skills Index, which has identified South Africa as emerging in business and technology but lagging in data science.

Using a data-driven approach, the collaboration between Coursera and the government has identified focus sectors with courses in blockchain, data science and data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) including machine learning, software and app development and internet of things (IoT).

The data science and AI studies feature courses from IBM, Google Cloud, and the University of Toronto.
All available courses are offered in English and are exclusively online, making access to the internet a prerequisite.