PROFESSOR TSHILIDZI MARWALA WAS APPOINTED AS THE UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG’S SECOND VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL IN JANUARY THIS YEAR. AN EMINENT SCHOLAR WITH A DISTINGUISHED RECORD. HE HOLDS MORE THAN 45 HONOURS AND AWARDS, INCLUDING THE ORDER OF MAPUNGUBWE, SOUTH AFRICA’S HIGHEST HONOUR, GRANTED BY THE PRESIDENT FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA.
“My vision is to position the University of Johannesburg in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, said Professor Tshilidzi Marwala in his inaugural speech. “Those who will thrive in the Fourth Industrial age will have to understand the world, and the University of Johannesburg should therefore be at the forefront of laying down a foundation for the University of the 22nd century”. But what exactly is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? And what does it specifically mean for UJ? Prof Marwala described the Fourth Industrial Revolution as one which is going to integrate humans and machines, the physical and the cyber, a technological revolution that will transform the world. He explained how the First Industrial Revolution occurred in England in the 17th century, bringing the steam engine and the mechanisation of goods. The Second Industrial Revolution happened largely in the United States and was connected to the generation of electricity. The Third Industrial Revolution came about because of the invention of semiconductors in the 1950s, giving us a transistor and ushering in the electronic age. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said, is the advent of cyber- physical systems involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines as technology becomes embedded within society and even within our bodies. He used examples such as genome editing,
new forms of machine intelligence, breakthrough materials and approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods. Prof Marwala said that UJ was
a leading university in such technologies and it should be linked to the innovation architecture of South Africa
playing “a critical role in increasing the productivity of our industrial sector and, thereby, reducing the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty”. “We should create an environment for our staff and students to master the tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, he said. “We should bring technology into our classrooms, whether by means of blended learning or robotic tutors. We should use technology to monitor the progress of our students”. “We should increase the graduation rates of our students. We should increase the qualification levels of our staff. We should deepen our international profile by bringing the world into our classrooms and taking our staff and students into the world. We should aim to have 20% of our staff to be international by the year 2025 and 15% of our students to be international by the year 2020”. “We are required to train scientists and engineers who understand humanities and social sciences. We are to train social scientists who understand technology. Our
graduates must have fluency of ideas. Fluency of ideas means that our graduates must be able to come up with multiple ideas about a topic. Our graduates must be active, agile and adaptive learners”. Prof Marwala stressed that the other vital skill for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is judgement and decision making. “A robot will not be able to decide how we should deal with migration of destitute people or about ethics or how to convince a leader of a country that war is an inappropriate way of handling disputes”. He said students should be treated well and that campuses should be safe spaces for generating new and very often provocative ideas. “UJ will master the Fourth Industrial Revolution only if we invest in
Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker