I stand before you with so much joy and gratitude for all of you to have taken time from your schedules to make a success of the 1st International conference on leveraging ICT for sustainable development. This conference is hosted by Botswana Accountancy College (BAC) in partnership with the UK based University of Sunderland. The partnership between the two institutions began in 2002, when BAC realised the need to expand its offering from just accounting programmes to also offer computing programmes as the College saw the impact that ICT was making in business and the economy. This partnership birthed the School of Computing and Information Systems through which we are hosting this conference. Under this school, we offer: BSc. (Hons) Applied Business Computing, BSc. (Hons) Computer Systems Engineering, BSc. (Hons) Mobile Technologies, BSc. (Hons) Network Computing, BSc. (Hons) Information Communication Technology (ICT) and, BSc. (Hons) Business Intelligence and Data Analytics.
The College has set up a quality competence centre (ICT Industry Skills Centre) that offers ICT Industry Standard Training and training infrastructure for ICT competitiveness in Botswana. This center is made up of specialist academies- SAP, CISCO and Microsoft. In establishing this center, the College wanted to add value to the growing sector with provision of training, supporting and planning organisational wide projects to service both the private and public sector.
As we live in turbulent times where the future is unpredictable and we are all witnessing the rise and impact of technology in our daily lives, it is imperative for an institution as ourselves to be part of the growth and impact of ICT’s for sustainable development. As we live in the information age, we would not want to be left behind in the adaptation and use of technology. We have invested intensely in the development and delivery of ICT knowledge through the School of Computing and Information Systems. In the last two (2) years, we have introduced three (3) new programmes that not only are market relevant, but are practical, to enable learners and graduates to fit industry.
As a key stakeholder in delivering the Vision 2036 of a sustainable economic development, we have provided quality and diversified human resources in accounting, business, management, tourism, hospitality and ICT. Our collaborative partnerships have allowed us to produce market relevant and ready graduates who are also competitive in the global arena.
We boast over 10,000 alumni in industry and entrepreneurship who have made significant and impactful contribution to the Botswana economy, African economy and that of the world. Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you today boastfully, and proud as I am one of those alumni that I have just talked about! The education, support and grooming that I acquired from BAC has contributed to my personal and professional growth and I have committed to ensure that the College continues to impact more lives, more communities and more economies.
Our students and graduates have made significant achievements locally and internationally. Our students have developed software applications in the agricultural sector, health sector and in communications. One of our flagship projects was the YAPILI application where one of our graduates collaborated with her peers in 6 countries and they developed a health application with the objective to make health care especially in least fortunate economies accessible.
As we are all aware, youth and graduate employment is a global concern, and Botswana is no exception. As an institution of higher learning, we have made deliberate steps in propelling entrepreneurship among our students and graduates through various programmes. And I am happy to announce today that we are in the process of establishing our very own Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre and I would like to call on industry to partner with us in developing our young people and their business and innovative ideas.
This centre is aimed at incubating business ideas and ICT projects to support them for commercialisation. I must say, this conference comes at an opportune time where the College is going through its own disruptions in order to become relevant to the 4th industrial revolution. We are aware of the disruptions that come about as a result of this revolution, and we are putting measures in place to ensure that our curriculum and our teaching methods are relevant for this revolution. We are very much aware of the future jobs and teaching the millennial generation has challenged us in approaching how we do things.
With the growing use of the internet and social media, we are challenged in moving our teaching to using digital platforms to meet the needs of our millennial students. We are also aware of careers of the future such as Information Security Analysts, Digital Content Specialists, Blockchain Developer, 3D Printing Technicians, Augmented Reality Developer and Robotics Service Developer just to mention a few. It is platforms such as this conference that key stakeholders such as us can deliberate on such disruptions that will grow our economies.
As we deliberate on the various topics from the 4th Industrial Revolution Drivers, Information Management, Disruptive Technologies, and ICT for sustainable development, I hope we can challenge ourselves through these deliberations to do more research, to begin impactful conversations and collaborate in various areas to drive sustainable growth and prosperity for all.
I am pleased that this conference has managed to bring together key stakeholders under one roof to deliberate on key themes around the 4th Industrial Revolution and it is my wish for the conversation to continue beyond this conference.
Let this conference be the starting point for continuous learning and adoption of technology. Let us be excited to find ways how technology can provide solutions for sustainable development. Let us not be left behind but become leaders in leveraging ICT’s for economic growth.
Allow me to challenge government, industry and academics here present this morning on what their role is in the 4th industrial revolution. It is high time both parties collaborate in making impactful contributions towards sustainable development. It is high time we challenge the impact we make in the environment and economy.
*Part of a speech delivered by the Executive Director of Botswana Accountancy College (BAC), Serty Leburu, at the start of the institution’s 1st International Conference on Leveraging ICT for Sustainable Development on May 27-28, 2019.