Lesotho Students Coached in 4IR Skills & Lauded at Award CeremonyShare open/close
Samsung Innovation Campus in partnership with Lerotholi Polytechnic prepare Lesotho youth for possible careers as entrepreneurs in technology
Following the formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Maseru-based technical and vocational training institution , Lerotholi Polytechnic (LP), and Samsung Electronics Africa, to establish the Samsung Innovation Campus (SIC) programme at LP in December last year, the first cohort of 44 selected students have now graduated.
The graduation ceremony was held on the 3rd of November 2023 at Lerotholi Polytechnic Grounds. The event was graced by Lesotho Ministers of Education and Training; Communications, Science and Technology; and Trade, Industry, Business Development and Tourism, as well as the Samsung Africa CEO and President among other delegates. In Lesotho, LP is the first institution that has benefitted from this initiative and the third in Africa after South Africa’s Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape and Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein.
This award ceremony where LP students received certificates celebrating the successful completion of the SIC programme, is evidence of the smooth execution of this strategic agreement in its first year of implementation. This SIC programme seeks to provide various technology-aligned courses to selected students in institutions of higher learning in Lesotho and in South Africa.
The programme aims to develop Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills by teaching Coding and Programming (C&P) education in Python, Software Development in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data to increase their chances of employability after school. To date, the completed course is the six-month Coding and Programming education in Python, while Artificial Intelligence and finally Big Data will follow after a performance evaluation on the C&P course is completed. The evaluation process is a crucial step before proceeding into the next courses.
Hlubi Shivanda, Director: Business Operations, Innovation & Corporate Affairs at Samsung South Africa said: “As Samsung, we recognise the talent and potential of the youth in Lesotho. We are therefore stepping in to give them the boost that they need to acquire the skills that will serve them beyond their tertiary education. We chose to enter into this partnership with LP because this institution prioritises education through technology and places special emphasis on exposing its students to practical experience and entrepreneurship.”
This partnership with LP was formed in a bid to boost youth employment in Lesotho’s technology sector and help to empower the leaders of tomorrow. The SIC programme itself, has been tailored to offer the youth of Lesotho the opportunity to enhance their employment prospects and gain practical education in new technologies.
Initially, there were 50 students who joined the programme, but due to employment and further study commitments, 6 students dropped out. One of the main objectives of the SIC programme is to equip youth at tertiary level of education with work ready skills to address issues around 4IR. The collaboration with LP, combined with the principles of SIC enables these partners to provide a low-volume and high-impact approach programme to the Lesotho-based student community.
Advocate – Mosakeng, the Registrar at Lerotholi Polytechnic (LP) said: “Lecturers and instructors from industry were used to deliver the content of the programme in order to blend academic instruction offered by our lecturers with real life practice from the industry. The final phase of the programme was the Hackathon Project, in which students designed and programmed prototypes that aim to address specific challenges facing our country.”
Students presented innovative ideas to solve various problems including problems of Burst Wasco Sewage and water pipes, managing the high cost of electricity through regulating electricity consumption and sharing electricity units with others, as well as improving service delivery in community councils through data collection and analysis.
Advocate Lepota – Mosakeng explained further saying that one of the attributes key to employment that have been instilled throughout this SIC programme is team work. Throughout the programme, the students had to be in pairs and teams. Also, this programme has been able to encourage and entrench a culture of hard work in the students where good performance is rewarded through exposure to such opportunities. The highest performers in the Hackathon Project were awarded prizes by Samsung on Graduation Day.
One of the primary goals of the SIC programme is to create work-ready, employable graduands and empower them to become future technological entrepreneurs. “The initiative not only resonates with the Strategic Development Goals (SDG’s), , but also with the government of Lesotho’s strategic goal of promoting the youth through innovation and entrepreneurship”, Advocate Lepota – Mosakeng added.
These graduates are now officially part of the Global SIC initiative that is able to offer youth in different countries curriculum that is tailor-made for their specific needs. This global programme is already running successfully in South Africa and now Lesotho. Importantly, Samsung is already working on further growing this SIC programme by rolling it out into the rest of Africa, into territories including Malawi, Kenya, Namibia and Nigeria.
The award ceremony was the crowning moment of both parties’ efforts to use education through technology to equip young people with the skills and knowledge they will need to not only build a better Lesotho, but the African continent and the world as a whole. The SIC programme in partnership with LP has given both partners the opportunity to empower a generation of problem-solvers by equipping these Lesotho-based students with future-proof skills and provided them with practical understanding of the technologies that will shape their future and enrich sustainable growth of the world.
Lesotho has made great progress in the field of education. It has one of the highest adult literacy rates in Africa and is now striving to build a better future for its youth through education. This strategic partnership with LP is offering Samsung yet another opportunity to re-affirm its commitment of helping Lesotho achieve its education-related goals.
“For Samsung, investing in the youth by providing them with quality education through innovative technology is key. Through our SIC partnership with LP, we are now able to achieve our vision for this global youth investment initiative, of enabling the Basotho people for the upliftment of humanity through innovation and digital transformation”, concluded Shivanda.
Samsung proudly supports Busan’s bid for the World Expo 2030.