SAS and UKZN to bring data to life with Teachers4DataAnalytics program launch

SAS and UKZN to bring data to life with Teachers4DataAnalytics program launch

Global analytics leader, SAS has partnered with three South African universities to launch the Teachers4DataAnalytics program, a teacher training initiative that aims to reach hundreds of teachers and provide them with the knowledge and tools to inspire their students to pursue careers in data analytics.

Teachers4DataAnalytics will also form part of a bigger SAS driven program focused on secondary education and provide a bridge/feeder for the company’s successful Global Academic Program in partnership with local universities.

Despite one-third of South African university graduates and almost 60% of learners who successfully complete grade 12 failing to find jobs, a massive skills shortage in technical sectors persists.

With economies digitalising rapidly, and businesses creating roles for entrants with data analytics and statistical skills, SAS became increasingly concerned that school learners locally are largely unaware of the existing and emerging potential vocations that can offer them exciting and gainful employment opportunities and future-proofed career paths.

Andre Zitzke, Manager: Global Academic Programmes in Africa for SAS, said: “We are exceptionally proud of and excited about the Teachers4DataAnalytics program as this is the first program of this nature, scale and size focused on secondary schoolteachers and learners to be launched in a SAS operational region outside of the US. The aim is to empower teachers with the knowledge and tools to be better placed to reach more students, encourage their curiosity and provide them with exposure on practical applications behind the curricula in STEM subjects, so that learners become more informed on the careers available to them in the digital and data driven age.”

The Teachers4DataAnalytics program was conceptualised by Professor Delia North, former Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, for the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa.

Professor North has been highly influential in statistics education in the country, having served as the Chair of the South African Statistical Association Education for 17-years and played a seminal role in defining the statistics content of the school curriculum since statistics was first introduced into the school curriculum in 2002.

For the Teachers4DataAnalytics program, Professor North teamed up with Professor Christine Franklin, a world renowned expert and leader in teacher training, to optimise the uptake of statistical concepts at school level and produce a booklet that would guide teachers in their training to bring renewed insight into learning from data that is both modern, yet takes into account the complexities of teaching in a developing country with less than ideal infrastructure and access to laboratories for teaching. SAS DataFly is the software of choice in this program, as innovative use of the versatile software will allow the teacher to use SAS DataFly despite constraints and realities of teaching in less affluent schools.

Additionally, the program is defined as a scalable initiative that will be taken to other universities across the country – and later across the continent – to help connect schools, universities, industry and government in creating a talent pipeline for a digital future.

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