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The 4th Industrial Revolution – NewsDay

Vince Musewe
IT is a fact that the industrial world is in the midst of a significant revolution regarding the way products are manufactured, mainly due to the digitalisation of the manufacturing process.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or simply Industry 4.0 (coined in 2011 by a German initiative of the federal government with universities and private companies), is currently occurring in manufacturing.

We, therefore, need to take note of it and anticipate its potential impact on our developmental plans and prepare ourselves accordingly so that we are not left behind.

From the First Industrial Revolution in 1784, mainly driven by steam power, to mass production using electricity in the Second Revolution in 1879, to the Third Industrial Revolution of computers and automation in 1950, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will further enhance automation with smart and autonomous systems driven by data and machine learning. Essentially computers are being connected to communicate with one another and to ultimately make decisions with minimal human involvement. Industry 4.0 is a new industrial age in which several emerging technologies are converging to provide digital solutions.

Some of the emerging terms related to Industry 4.0 include cloud computing, big data analytic, cyber physical system, 3D printing (additive manufacturing), cryptocurrency (blockchain), the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, among others. These will continue to grow with time as digital enterprise emerges.

In this revolution, we are going to see machines which can autonomously detect when they need spare parts, production systems which can run their own quality control during operation and anticipate potential breakdowns, smart supply chain management and, among other things, robots that can autonomously recognise and move components around. AI and “edge computing” are being combined to offer new smart products, new smart business processes and new business models offering huge productivity upside. The future is no longer what it used to be.

The concept of Industry 4.0 involves many technologies creating hitherto unknown synergies which will create new industrial manufacturing possibilities. There are five pieces that define Industry 4.0 at its core and when integrated together, they create capabilities which have never been possible before. These include:

Smart factory, which is the seamless connection of individual production steps, from research, design, prototyping, production, distribution and client management. This will lead to an increase in productivity levels and competitiveness through a significant reduction in costs.

In the near future, machinery and equipment will be able to improve processes through self-optimisation where systems can autonomously adapt to production variables. For example, smart machines will manage supply chain logistics, co-ordinate production and global distribution.

These are termed “front-end technologies” consisting of smart manufacturing, smart products, smart supply chain and smart working.

Cyber-physical systems, which are integrations of computation, networking and physical processes, will monitor and control physical processes with feedback loops where the physical system reacts, uses software to interpret action and track results.

IoT is the connection of all devices to the internet and each other. It is built on cloud computing and networks of data-gather sensors and it is mobile, virtual, and instantaneous. This interconnection will enable “smart factories” to use data to manufacture, move, and report and learn at astounding rates and efficiently too, thus improving productivity and quality.

Big data will be key and this is basically a collection of data from traditional and multiple digital sources which is collected from systems, sensors and mobile devices. These are termed the “base technologies” which comprises technologies that provide connectivity and intelligence for front-end technologies.

We then have what is termed “inter-operability” which is what happens when we bring the front-end and base technologies together. It is the connection of cyber-physical systems, humans and smart factories communicating with each other through the IoT. Added to this will be the ability of robots to eventually interact with one another and work safely side-by-side with humans — known as “cobots”. Eventually they will also be able to learn from humans.

The potential impact of these technologies on economic and industrial development is unimaginable.

One thing that is certain is that those countries which ignore this new wave will do so at their own peril. The challenge to developing countries and governments is the urgent recalibration of their industrial development plans and the creation of new ecosystems which facilitate early adoption. Education will be key.

The greatest fear of these new technologies is, of course, possible job losses. In a detailed research in 2017, McKinsey Global Institute calculated that intelligent automation technologies could save employers worldwide a staggering $15 trillion in wages by 2030. According to McKinsey, “about half the activities people are paid to do globally could theoretically be automated using currently demonstrated technologies.”

McKinsey concluded, estimating between 400 and 800 million current occupations could be displaced by 2030. McKinsey cited jobs involving physical labour, data collection/processing, manufacturing, retail, and accommodation/food services as the most vulnerable during the shift to Industry 4.0. However, combined with anticipated employment growth in sectors like elderly care, green technology, and consumer goods and services, McKinsey projects the overall creation of 555 to 890 million new jobs by 2030, declaring that “this job growth could more than offset the jobs lost to automation.” McKinsey estimates 75 to 375 million people will have to switch occupations and learn new skills by 2030, “implying substantial workplace transformations and changes for all workers.”

“Our analysis shows that humans will still be needed in the workforce,” McKinsey concludes. “The total productivity gains will only come about if people work alongside machines. That, in turn, will fundamentally alter the workplace, requiring a new degree of co-operation between workers and technology.”

As we in Zimbabwe pursue our re-industrialisation, it is critical that first, our leaders and experts are up to speed with the above developments and second, that our Industry and Commerce, Education and ICT ministries immediately set up a taskforce to advise on how we can incorporate and adopt Industry 4.0 technologies in our national industrial development plans.

In my view, this is a unique opportunity to reinvent our industrial base and take full advantage of the latest technological developments. Industry 4.0, therefore, offers us the opportunity to leapfrog ahead but serious investment in new ICT infrastructure and education will be key.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has advised that governments must provide impetus for research, infrastructure, IT security, and education.

According to WEF, it will be important to have the right regulatory impetus from government, in a co-ordinated form and across national borders.

WEF has identified four key issues which need immediate attention by governments as follows:

  • Creating an ecosystem where innovations can grow through support for application-related research and investments.
  • Establishment of an area-wide IT infrastructure and fast internet access are basic requirements. “Industry 4.0 needs, not just more bandwidth, but also very fast transfer times, combined with maximum availability.”
  • IT security is essential to the success of Industry 4.0. Digitalisation and cyber-security have to go hand-in-hand.
  • All levels of education have to be reoriented to the new digital developments. “Expanded skills in IT, software, programming, communication technology, IT security and data analysis will be indispensable for future industrial applications.”

In conclusion, the big challenge is not the technology itself, but how to manage the effects of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 and to make the most of the new opportunities it provides. This will require a profound paradigm shift of what is possible and what is inevitably coming our way through Industry 4.0.

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Odisha govt plans development of colleges – Times of India

The Biju Pattnaik College Of Science & Education

BHUBANESWAR: After starting work on transformation of schools, the state government has rolled out an institutional mechanism called district college development facilitation centres for development of higher secondary and higher education sectors.
Chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra on Friday directed collectors of all districts to operationalise these centres for addressing the problems encountered by colleges. While conducting a district-wise review of these centres, Mahapatra said the development of colleges is a priority of the government and collectors must be directly involved in the process.
He also asked the collectors to look into the major issues including settlement of land in the name of colleges, separation of Plus-II wing from the degree colleges, expedited implementation of development projects in the colleges, proper utilisation of government funds given under different schemes and development of academic ecosystem on the campus.
Collectors were directed to convene meetings with different colleges for having a first-hand assessment of their problems and accordingly prioritise those according to the guidelines issued by the higher education department.
Higher education secretary Saswat Mishra said direct involvement of the collectors and district administrations will easily resolve many ground-level issues.

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Bihar government to recruit 4,600 teachers in colleges: Minister – Times of India

PATNA: Altogether 4,600 teachers will be appointed in the colleges to help in timely completion of courses and conducting examination on time, education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary on Friday said in the Vidhan Parishad.
He also said 6,421 posts of Vidyalaya Sahayak (school assistants) have been created for works related to computers and other fields.
Choudhary was replying to a starred question raised by RJD MLC Ram Chandra Purbey, who said the students were suffering because of delay in completion of courses.
Purbey cited the example of the B R Ambedkar Bihar University in Muzaffarpur and said 60,000 students could not apply for the 4335 posts of POs and management trainees because of delay in holding examination of the 2018-21 batch.
The minister said all the vice-chancellors and registrars, in a meeting at Raj Bhavan recently, were instructed to complete the courses on time.
To another short-notice question raised by MLC Sanjeev Kumar Singh, the education minister said his department has created 6,421 posts of school assistants and computer literacy has been made mandatory for their appointment. Choudhary said the induction of these assistants will help in carrying out several duties.
Singh pointed out that teachers have to be engaged in various works like enrolment and registration of new students, issuing admit cards and other works in the absence of school assistants and clerks. He further said the teachers had to go to cybercafé for completing the works as many schools do not have computer facilities.
Choudhary also said a software was being developed to have a record of land availability of schools and instructions have been given to get the encroachments on educational premises removed.
Exchange of couplets: The last day of winter session witnessed exchange of couplets between education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary and Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra after a question regarding the status of Maithili teaching. When Mishra read out an Urdu poem, Choudhary replied in a poetic way. Choudhary said the state government was serious about Maithli education and 55 teachers were working while 114 posts of teachers had been created in senior secondary schools. He further said 49 teachers were appointed at the college level.

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Govt must stop abusing COVID-19 regulations – NewsDay

THE Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) rejects the knee-jerk, irrational and unscientific imposition of adjusted national lockdown regulations under Statutory Instrument 267 of 2021. This follows the recent discovery of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa and Botswana.

As part of the measures, a daily curfew was imposed from 9pm to 6am, while shops were directed to open for business from 7am and close by 7pm.

The regulations also require all returning residents and visitors to undergo PCR testing and those found to be negative will be quarantined at their own cost for 10 days, while those who are found positive will be isolated in accordance with the provisions of the principal order.

These regulations are the clearest yet sign that government is using the cover the COVID-19 pandemic to push an ulterior agenda which we strongly believe to be centred on its quest to stifle free and legitimate operations of citizens trying to recover from the effects of the same pandemic on their livelihoods.

The latest regulations were initially announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 30, 2021 ostensibly to avert threats of a fourth wave in Zimbabwe.

While we appreciate government’s efforts at containing the pandemic as prescribed in the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on handling the new Omicron variant, we are concerned that the new measures are disproportionate to our situation as a country and seem not based on any scientific logic.

The latest WHO recommendations on the new variant encourage authorities to enhance surveillance and genomic sequencing efforts and urge them to continue reminding communities and individuals to continue adhering to the “tried and tested” protocols already in use.

The latest regulations are surprising given that the government’s post-cabinet briefings of November 16 and 30, 2021 assured the nation that the COVID-19 pandemic was “under control” in the country following several days with few or no reported deaths and few new infections.

The Zimbabwe Association for Doctors for Human Rights is in agreement with government’s assessment based on the fact that the national positive rate in the last three to four weeks has been less than 2,5%.

WHO ratings project that a positive rate of more than 5% signifies a pandemic out of control and anything below 5% is a well-controlled pandemic.

Ironically, WHO and health experts are reportedly convinced that the new strain is “super mild” and has, so far, not led to a surge in COVID-19 death rates anywhere in southern Africa, urging countries to drop travel restrictions and end the mass hysteria associated with the new Omicron variant.

Additionally, Zimbabwe has been singled out as one of the few African countries that has implemented a successful COVID-19 response strategy that has been applauded by the WHO.

Given the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the economy as well as the livelihoods of many of our citizens, the latest measures are surprising as they peg back the nation from realising a quick recovery to the pandemic-induced economic backslide.

Unemployment in Zimbabwe is estimated at over 90%, with many citizens relying on the informal economy to sustain their livelihoods. It is these citizens who will face the brunt of these unjustified regulations.

The limiting of operating times for business will affect actors in both the formal and informal economic sectors, which will inevitably peg back any economic recovery efforts.

We would have expected the government to be concentrating on ramping up its vaccination drive, which has gradually stalled and is way behind projected targets.

Getting herd immunity through vaccination has been identified as one of the quickest ways of ensuring full opening up of the economy so that citizens can return to their normal life routines and secure their livelihoods.

We are worried that enforcement of COVID-19 regulations has often been used as cover for gross rights violations with the army and police brutalising citizens for violating the regulations.

Since March 2020, it has become quite apparent that COVID-19 regulations in Zimbabwe have been used to entrench authoritarian rule and violate citizens’ fundamental rights through the imposition of restrictions without proper any justified scientific basis. -CiZC


Parly must craft national disability policy

VENDORS Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation today commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities under the theme Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities Toward an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post-COVID-19 World.

This year’s event comes on the backdrop of continued vulnerability for this sector of our population owing to the ravages of COVID-19 with no support from Government and its agencies.

Not only have our members been deprived of support, but containment measures such as vaccination and associated publicity campaigns, people with disabilities have been  left out, yet sign language is recognised as part of the country’s 16 official languages.

According to a Unesco Rapid Assessment report of November 2020, on the effects of COVID-19 on persons with disabilities asserted that the majority of persons with disabilities (PWDs) survive on informal sector activities such as vending and begging on the streets.

People with disabilities faced significant difficulties to access support from government, non-governmental organisations and private individuals owing to travel restrictions imposed by the government during the lockdown period.

Mary Mushayi, a PWD in a report of December 2020, said when borders are closed, relatives cannot send groceries to them and they are unable to move around to collect parcels owing to transport challenges compounded by the ban on commuter omnibuses.

For Viset, this sector is a critical component of the informal economy as many persons with disabilities derive their living from the sector due to the fact that there are less barriers to entry as many of them are deprived of formal education.

A walk in the central business district will confirm this assertion, yet government and local authorities have no plan to ensure this constituency is accommodated in accessible buildings and facilities such as public toilets and transport.

Viset calls for the enactment into an act of Parliament the National Disability Policy that was launched by the President in June 2021.

We also call upon all policing authorities to be trained in communication and interaction of persons with disabilities and cessation of the heavy handedness that is applied to the sector in raids. -Viset


IN response to Omicron hits Zimbabwe, THANDIZINTO says: Zimbabweans have to be vigilant in fighting the new COVID-19 variant, as well as other variants to come. I am slowly getting inclined towards thinking that COVID-19 is some kind of biological warfare.


IN response to No US$ bonus for nurses, NDABANENGI says: Government is not being fair. It should treat all its employees in an equal manner. Every one of its employees plays an integral role in the day-to-day running of government business. The authorities are feigning confusion, yet I believe this was a calculated move. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is playing games with the people. In actual fact, why should we keep such people in power? They should be kicked out come 2023 elections.


IN response to Exams invigilation: Govt reads riot act, PIKIRAYI says: The education sector is in a state of decay, and government is not doing anything to correct the anomaly. In fact, the authorities are pretending as if everything is normal. I believe they are telling themselves that the next leaders will fix this mess. The funny thing is that now I am 33 years old, the same people who are leaders now were leaders when I was born, and they were telling us that we were the future leaders. Surprisingly, they are still in power and messing up the country.


IN response to Zec bemoans paltry budgetary allocation, MAKHELWANE says: Whether it gets more money or not to run elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) does not have the capacity to produce credible election results. It is an extension of the Zanu PF regime. Zec failed to proclaim by-elections date and abrogated its duty to the Health ministry. What I know is that when Zanu PF wants things done, it will fund the electoral management body and everything will be all systems go. Zanu PF knows that even if some mogul funds Zec, no one will be able to question the funding since already everyone knows a budget was set aside, and also that no one will be able to get into Zec’s books to see where the money came from and how it was used.


IN response to BCC rakes in $455k in fines, MHONDIWA says: I like Bulawayo City Council’s way of doing things. Its councillors are somehow transparent, despite that many times Zanu PF throws spanners into their works.

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