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WSU rector appointed to President’s 4IR Commission

Apr 16, 2019
WSU rector appointed to President’s 4IR Commission

Dr Prince Jaca brings expertise and experience in higher education to 4IR Commission

East London - Walter Sisulu University Buffalo City Campus Rector, Dr Prince Jaca, will add yet another high profile responsibility to his ever growing plate after being recently appointed to the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Following his landmark announcement to establish the 4IR commission during his 2019 State of the Nation Address in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa has since appointed Dr Jaca owing to his expertise in strategic planning and wealth of experience in the higher education sector.

A total of 30 experts from various sectors, which include business, education, ICT and telecoms, government, astronomy, creative industry, agriculture, finance, labour and banking have been appointed to the commission.

“In my humble opinion, I think in making this appointment, my experience within higher education was taken into consideration. I’ve been within the higher education sector for more than 20 years and having served at senior management level in the for the last 12 years, and having experience in implementing high level strategy, they thought I might have the requisite skills,” said Dr Jaca.

The commission, aptly headed by University of Johannesburg vice chancellor and principal Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, a pioneer in the circles of 4IR research through his research on the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, economics, social science and medicine, will be charged with coordinating the development of the country’s national response action plan to deal with the 4IR.

Responsibilities of 4IR Commission

Among its many responsibilities, the commission will be charged with:

  • Developing an integrated national strategy and plan to respond to the 4IR. This will include detailed interventions to be carried out in achieving competitiveness of the key economic sectors;
  • Advise on strategies to enhance South Africa’s global competiveness;
  • Advise on a research program to advance 4IR;
  • Advise on the skills development and future of work;
  • Make recommendations on enabling relevant infrastructure for South Africa to participate in the digital economy;
  • Make recommendations on an institutional framework and mechanism to coordinate 4IR programs;
  • Make recommendations to approaches to address inclusivity and digital divide;
  • Make recommendations on interventions to enable entrepreneurship and SMMEs to take advantage of 4IR;
  • Mobilize resources to support the fourth industrial revolution interventions, and;
  • Make recommendations on mechanisms to measure the impact of the interventions on 4IR

Walter Sisulu University Vice Chancellor and Principal, Prof Rob Midgley, heaped praise upon Dr Jaca for his appointment.

“The appointment of Dr Jaca to the commission is indeed a great cause for celebration. It is not only a testament to his own ability, but it also shows that people from areas that are traditionally not seen as places where research can contribute do add value and I’m very certain that his own experiences in rural community is going to be probably one of the most important features that he can contribute with,” said Prof Midgley proudly.

The 4IR commission is chaired by the president and will meet twice a year.

*Dr Jaca holds two Masters degrees, one in Mathematics and the other in education. He has a PhD in Mathematics Education focusing on instructional classroom environment for proficiency in mathematics