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UJ secures EU Grant for digital education in South African TVET Colleges

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has rapidly reshaped education and communication, with tools such as ChatGPT and other digital platforms showing promise in South Africa. These resources not only provide easy access to information but also offer explanations, potentially impacting socioeconomic conditions. However, educators must address challenges such as understanding AI workings and promoting critical thinking to students.

To tackle these issues, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has secured a €400,000 (approximately R8.1 million) European Union (EU) grant to lead a digital transformation initiative in South African Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges. Funded by the Erasmus+ Program under Capacity Building in Higher Education, this initiative reflects UJ’s dedication to driving societal impact through innovative educational initiatives.

Addressing digital education challenges

“In today’s digital age, the landscape of education is rapidly evolving, requiring institutions to adapt to the changing demands of the workforce. Project Pro-TELDE (Promotion of Technology-Enhanced Learning and Digital Education) recognises the need for TVET institutions to equip their students with digital skills and competencies essential for success in the modern workplace,’ says Professor Tankiso Moloi, the Research Chair in 4IR at the Johannesburg Business School, UJ.

One of the biggest concerns for educators is plagiarism as students are handing in AI-generated content as their own. Prof Moloi explains that Project Pro-TELDE is designed to empower South African TVET lecturers in business and economics by identifying and utilising open digital sources for teaching, harnessing technology-enhanced learning (TEL) methods, and facilitation of lecturer-driven creation of digital teaching resources. Prof Moloi emphasises that at the heart of the project lies the establishment of an online repository housing validated TEL and digital teaching materials tailored specifically for South African educators in the field of business and economics.

International collaborations for success

“We are excited to lead this project alongside local and international partners,” said Prof Moloi. “Partnerships are vital for the success of Project Pro-TELDE, with collaborating institutions being  Central Johannesburg TVET College, Majuba TVET College, Vhembe TVET College, PIXEL (Italy), Universita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza (Italy), and University of Peloponnese (Greece).”

Prof Moloi concludes: “Project Pro-TELDE reflects UJ’s commitment to advancing digital education and empowering educators for success in the digital era, driving positive societal change through transformative educational initiatives.”

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