Aligning academia with industry: Insights from FOE2023 Summit for South African education

By Lindelwa Masuku

We explore the Future of Education Summit 2023 (#FOE2023) and highlight key insights on the Reskilling Revolution and aligning academia with industry needs. Here’s how South African institutions are adapting their curricula to meet the demands of the evolving job market and bridge the skills gap. 

South Africa - The Future of Education Summit 2023 (#FOE2023) brought together education leaders, industry experts, and policymakers to discuss the pressing challenges and opportunities facing South African education. 

I had the privilege to attend the summit, where prominent speakers shared valuable insights on the Reskilling Revolution and aligning academia with industry needs.

Education holds the key to economic recovery and future workforce preparedness. The Reskilling Revolution, spearheaded by the World Economic Forum, emphasises the need for a paradigm shift in education systems to equip students with the skills necessary for tomorrow's economy. 

The Future of Education Summit 2023

The summit emphasized that high school-level guidance and education play a critical role in building a strong foundation for tertiary studies.

The panel discussions centred around the importance of collaboration between academia and industry. Universities need to adapt their curricula and teaching methodologies to match industry skills requirements, ensuring that graduates are job-ready. 

Prof. Letlhokwa Mpedi, Vice-Chancellor & Principal of the University of Johannesburg, stressed the significance of bridging the gap between academia and industry, making education more relevant and aligned with the needs of the job market.

The changing landscape of the job market demands a shift in focus from traditional degrees to industry certifications and short courses. 

Sugendhree Reddy, CEO of Access Bank, highlighted the growing trend of assessing candidates based on their skills and competencies rather than purely academic qualifications. 

This shift places emphasis on the development of practical, hands-on skills that meet industry demands.

Furthermore, the summit shed light on the importance of critical and creative thinking in education. 

Prof. Adam Habib, Director of SOAS University of London, emphasized that education should go beyond the acquisition of knowledge and instead foster critical thinking skills. By teaching fundamental principles with real-world applications, students are better equipped to navigate the ever-changing demands of the job market.

For South African institutions of learning, including the University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand, these insights are highly relevant. 

Tech-education systems for students & scholars

To bridge the skills gap, these institutions can forge stronger partnerships with local industries, identifying skills in demand and integrating them into their curricula. 

Additionally, vocational training and skills development programs offered by TVET colleges can be enhanced to align with industry needs, providing students with practical training and internships.

South Africa stands at the forefront of the Reskilling Revolution. As a nation, it is essential to collaborate across sectors to ensure that education systems keep pace with the needs of the rapidly evolving job market. 

By fostering collaboration between academia, industry, and government, South African institutions can play a pivotal role in equipping

students with the skills necessary for success in the jobs of the future.

The Future of Education Summit 2023 provided a platform to explore these critical topics. Joburg Post is committed to sharing valuable insights and engaging in the dialogue surrounding the future of education in South Africa. 

By embracing the Reskilling Revolution and fostering alignment between academia and industry, we can empower students to thrive in the ever-changing world of work.

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Reskilling Revolution

University of Johannesburg

University of the Witwatersrand


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