About iNeSI

The e-Skills Timeline

NeSPA document

July 2010 e-Skills Summit

The creation of iNeSI came out of a wide consultation process with stakeholder groups within the country and with collaborative organisations and countries across the world. This culminated in the first South African e-Skills Summit attended by more than 300 thought leaders from South Africa and around the world.

The summit, held in July 2010, laid out the basis for a new collaborative approach to dealing with South Africa's very large e-skills deficit and to position South Africa as a leader in this space.

The National e-Skills Summit process produced the first National e-Skills Plan of Action (NeSPA 2010) as a working document align efforts of all stakeholder groups to national priorities.

National e-Skills Plan of Action (NeSPA)

NeSPA is designed to:
  • Reflect a national consensus in terms of e-skills priorities, based on collaborative input from all key stakeholders (government, business, education, civil society/labour)
  • Continuously leverage international benchmarks and good practices adapted to South Africa's culture and environment, while taking advantage of South - South Cooperation opportunities (including Egypt, Brazil, Cuba, and India)
  • Provide a coordinating framework for effective implemenation of current and future e-skills initiatives matching the developmental, economic and societal needs of South Africa
  • Coordinate existing e-skills capacity and resources to maximise impact, reduce duplication of effort, and act as a focal point for the development of measureable e-skills competencies.
  • Identify current national and international success stories for adaptation, replication and scaling across South Africa, and share them with the rest of Africa for necessary adaptation, replication and scaling.
  • Provide for a framework of relevant coordinating pedagogy development and delivery across the HET, SETAs, corporate, and formal e-skills enhancement environment
  • Provide a framework for sharing knowledge based on provincial and local 'good practices
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  • Propose fully-costed solutions, owned by key stakeholder groups, to match current and future skills gaps for key sectors identified in the MTSF and IPAP as national priorities
  • Specify performance metrics to facilitate measurements and evaluatin of impact, Return on Investment and Return on Objective of the NeSPA Implementation Plan
  • Address political, economical, social, technological, environmental and legal (PESTAL) considerations and identify current public sector constraints that need to be addressed
  • Prepare an e-skills requirements map, displaying the skills paths and needs from beginner to expert for MTSF priority areas for economic growth and social development, i.e. sustainable development
  • Define an appropriate 'enabling environment' in which e-skills development will thrive
  • Identify key barriers to success and opportunities for driving synergistic initiatives
click on the posters to see a large version

NeSPA's areas of impact

iNeSI is mandated to e-skill the nation within the following skill sets:
  • e-literacy skills: employment readiness targeting unemployed and unskilled youth and rural society
  • e-participation and e-democracy: focus on enhancing citizen engagement with national and provincial parliaments, encouraging voter registration and engagement during elections
  • e-government: focused on increasing organisational efficiency and productivity
  • e-business: focused on increasing organisational efficiency and productivity
  • e-user: focus on enhancing efficiency of public and private sector knowledge workers
  • e-practioner: capacity of public and private sector to manage, support and service ICT
  • e-community skills: aimed at increasing self reliance, participation annd community support in a socio-econimic setting to build social cohension in ways that can better build local solutions to societal matters such as crime, health, education and the like

NeSPA's e-skill levels

The areas of impact include citizens at different levels, correlating to the current status in South Africa.
e-Skill level Areas of impact  
Foundation layer - basic user and basic community e-Literacy,
and e-democracy
e-Literacy, e-participation and e-democracy provide the underlying foundation e-skills required for successful engagement with the emerging South African information society and global knowledge economy. This foundation layer supports up-skilling and re-skilling youth, women, the unemployed and disadvantaged for work, while enabling necessary understading and capacity to empower citizen engagement. The only way to ensure consistent delivery of such skills nationwide is through certification, quality assurance and international benchmarking.
e-workers e-Government
and e-business
Based on these societally-oriented foundation e-skills, e-government and e-business skills training provide a framework supporting increased organisational efficiency and productivity in the public and private sectors. Both e-government and e-business delivery are based on a premise of workers having basic digigtal literacy skills, an appreciation of how technology is used in any working environment, whether government, for profit or not-for-profit. e-Government and e-business skills are essentially focused on how leverage ICT to streamline and even automate organisational processes, whether internal, external or supply chain related. Such skills are increasingly a necessary requirement of many peaople in employement today, and will certainly only increase in importance in the future, as ICT adoption becomes ubiquitous
e-User or knowledge worker e-User The next level of e-skills is that required of the e-user or knowledge worker. Knowledge workers (employed across government, business, education, and civil society/labour) typically could not fulfil their job requirements without the use of ICT systems and devices. User skills cover using common generic software tools and specialised tools supporting various sectoral functions outside the ICT industry. While having a sophisticated appreciation of ICT, and often asked by colleagues for assistance and informal training, they are not organisationally responsible for managing, supporting or servicing ICT.
e-Practitioner e-Practitioner The top level of e-skills is that of the e-practitioner who is responsible for researching, developing, designing, managing, producing, consulting, marketing, selling, integrating, installing, administration, maintaining, supporting and servicing ICT systems. The range of responsibilities of ICT practitioners varies according to whether they work in the ICT sector or government, civil society/labour or other businesss sectors. Certified training is the norm for the ICT practitioner, with a range of certified short courses and vendor certification the norm as part of the professional development employers provide to retain their top employees.
click on the posters to see a large version

Central recommendation of NeSPA

The Department of Communications established iNeSI as a national catalytic organisation to bring together the current disjointed efforts around e-skills and the key recommendations of the National e-Skills Summit 2010.

The central recommendation of the NeSPA was the establishment of e-skills CoLabs in each province to coordinate efforts at the local level. The Department of Communications is currently incubating iNeSI which wil evolve into an independent agency over time.

Affordable access to ICT

Part of NeSPA recommendations included developing a differential transfer pricing mechanism to provide a basic salary of free access to cellphone and internet connectivity.

With increasing interest in recognising e-skills as a fourth essential skill alongside literacy, writing and numeracy in a modern world, there is also increasing recognition that access to affordable and effective ICT is becoming a basic human right. Access to ICT should be considered alongside access to water, electricity, food security and meaningful work.

The lack of access to these technologies rapidly increases inequity, negatively impact on social cohesion, reduces effective health care outcomes, increases crime, and reduces life opportunities for the disadvantaged and those most in need.

A prerequisite of sustainable development of e-skills in South Africa is ubiquitous access to computing capacity and the internet - bridging not just the digital divide but also contributing towards achieving national equity goals. Delivering equitable access to both ICT and technology-based services through a transfer pricing mechanism (such as already applies to water and electricity) brings a compelling value proposition to people everywhere regardless of socio-economic capapcity, through increased applicability and affordable cost.

Aligning effort and output

NeSPA recommends that the alignment of effort must show an identifiable impact with outputs - where outputs are clearly linked to a MTSF goal in ways that are visible, traceable and measureble.

October 2012 e-Skills Summit

The second e-Skills Summit of South Africa 2012 and the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) Global ICT Forum on Human Capital Development 2012 was held 22-25 October 2012 in Cape Town. It brought together local and international delegates from more than 50 countries, resulting in productive discussions with information willingly shared. This type of information sharing is essential for developmental states to inform planning and implementation of approaches for an ICT-enabled world.

Click here for the NeSPA 2013 Executive Summary .