Professor Bo Xing, Associate Professor at the Institute for Intelligent Systems at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), has been appointed by former Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Naledi Pandor as chair of the fourth industrial revolution task team.
Dr Pandor announced her intention to establish the task team in her budget speech to parliament in May 2018. It was vital for the department of higher education and training to consider the implications of the emerging technologies of the fourth industrial revolution on universities, colleges and community education and training.
The task team is expected to advise the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology on how to manage the threats and opportunities posed by the fourth industrial revolution.
The eight-member team includes:
- Zeblon Vilakazi, Deputy Vice- chancellor of research at the University of the Witwatersrand;
- Colin Thakur, who holds the research chair of digitisation at the Durban University of Technology;
- Geci Karuri-Sebina, the SA coordinator of an African Development Bank study on the fourth industrial revolution;
- Harambee youth accelerator founder Nicola Galombik;
- Mail & Guardian’s Zamantungwa Khumalo;
- Department of Trade and Industry’s Ilse Karg and ;
- Adrianna Martin from SAP Africa.
South Africa has created the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but it has a broader mandate as it is not confined to the higher education sector .The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, chairs this commission and Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ’s Vice-Chancellor & Principal serves as the Deputy Chairman. The commission consists of 30 members.
Dr. Xing joined the Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS) in November 2016 and since then he has been working closely with the Vice Chancellor and Principal of the UJ (Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala) on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) related topics. During which, Dr. Xing proposed the concept of “Higher Education 4.0, or HE 4.0 for short” in an article entitled “Implications of the Fourth Industrial Age for Higher Education“; and introduced ADAPTIVE solution in a book chapter entitled “Adopt Fast, Adapt Quick: Adaptive Approaches in the South African Context“.