“ I U S E D T O H AT E I T T H AT W H E N WE WERE DOING F I R S T Y E A R AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN, 90% OF THE HANDWRITTEN E S S AY S C A M E FROM BLACK PEOPLE. THE D I G I TA L D I V I D E W A S H U G E ”.
52 FASTCOMPANY.CO.Z A SEPTEMBER 2016
To help close the gap, Baratang Miya and others formed the Women’s Movement Society at UCT, and later she co-founded GirlHype: a non-profit grounded in science, technology, engineering and maths, with skills development efforts focused on the girl child and young adult women—particularly underprivileged and underresourced females in the Western Cape between the ages of 13 and 30. “Technology is a tool that can empower—and destroy—women. There is not enough online content that’s relevant to women and girls, and I believe women have to write their own stories,” Miya adds. The pace at which industries— and careers—are being created and developed as a result of technology is accelerating. The digital revolution is making it difficult enough for companies to keep up and maintain a focused and productive staff—but what are they doing to upskill learners and young graduates, the workforce of the future? The education wheel turns slowly; there’s little time spent on aligning that which gets taught with what’s actually required in the workplace, formal and informal. The widening skills gap is being caused by an education system that’s out of touch with the ‘real’ skills required, particularly in information and communication technology. With knowledge and information now imperative for economic growth and greater employment opportunities, there is an increased focus on the role of learning and tech innovation to drive global competitiveness. According to the South African Journal of Science, “While innovation is identified as a driver for economic growth and productivity, the capacity to innovate remains low in most African countries. The globalisation of technology, however, presents new opportunities for development in developing countries”. Innovation requires investment in human capital and a highly skilled labour force, as well as the creation of infrastructure for high-technology industries, the publication adds. Software is everywhere, from the apps we use daily to the cars we drive, the media we consume, and how we interact with each other. And you can be