Mr Dean Garfield (left) with academics from the
School of Management, Information Technology
and Governance.

Closing the skills gap in the use of technology as a tool for teaching and learning was the focal point of a round table discussion between members of UKZN’s Information Systems and Technology Discipline and the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Information Technology Industry Council in the United States, Mr Dean Garfield.

Garfield visited the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance to engage with academics to explore possibilities of strengthening partnerships between South Africa and the US to advance research in the area of information technology.

In his address titled: “Securing an Internet Future”, Garfield highlighted issues of internet governance and policy, cybercrime and digital innovation.

‘The direction of the technology ecosystem is dependent on all of us because if we do not take an active role in preserving the internet then the research we have spoken about will not exist,’ he said. ‘University students and academics are working on various areas of research and we have 60 digital companies in the United States and we need to get them in touch with you so that their data is available for your research. Your research is cutting edge and I am curious to see how you see things moving forward and how you would like me to assist you.’

UKZN academics provided feedback on how such a partnership could benefit UKZN. Among issues highlighted was the need for a change in South Africa’s technology policies, challenges with bandwidth, the lack of collaboration between the US and SA as well as the need to create more awareness on cybercrime and internet security.

The School’s Academic Leader for research, Professor Brian McArthur, said there should ideally be strong links between the Discipline, the industry and government but that this was not always the case. He thanked Garfield and the US Consulate for taking the time to talk to UKZN as a first step towards cementing a mutually beneficial partnership.