n South African Computer Journal - Towards a shared worldview on e-skills : a discourse between government, industry and academia on the ICT skills paradox

Volume 29 Number 3
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



There is often criticism from industry that there are not enough ICT skilled professionals in the market, and that the situation may only be getting worse. On the other hand, some ICT graduates struggle to find jobs. This phenomenon is referred to as the ICT skills paradox. A recent panel at the 2015 South Africa Computer Lecturers Association (SACLA) conference composed of leaders from industry, academia and government discussed their perspectives on the ICT skills paradox. The Habermasian goal of the panel, and the objective of this research, was to make sense of the paradox from the different sectors’ worldviews involved in ICT skills, and to identify mutually acceptable means of dealing with the paradox. The discourse of the panel session was analysed using techniques from grounded theory. There were three overarching findings; South Africa needs a formal accreditation body which is sensitive to and reflective of the unique local contexts; there is a need for a central coordinating agency on ICT skills between academia, government and industry; and rather than attempt to define ICT or ICT skills, efforts should be placed on embracing transdisciplinary practices. Based on the findings, the paper makes recommendations on how to deal with the contrasts, the dynamism of the ICT sector, and how the current ICT skills paradox could be resolved in South Africa and similar developing country contexts. The paper also makes a contribution to ICT theory on how to achieve consensus and implement ICT strategies from seemingly contradictory sectors using Habermas’ theory on social interactions.

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