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Three Durban University of Technology (DUT) students have been selected to compete in the Huawei ICT Competition Regional Finals which is to be held online, next month, February 2022.

Dickson Hove, Wendy Nhleko and Dumisani Sibanda will be competing with 12 teams from various countries in the Southern African region. This exciting news was announced at the Huawei ICT Talent Development Annual Awards ceremony held online, last year, December 2021, to award top performing academics and instructors in that year.

At the awards ceremony, DUT scooped third prize in the Excellent Academy category and staff member, Eloge Ngoie was awarded the Excellent Instructor Award.

Technology, Transfer and Innovation Director at DUT, Professor Keolebogile Motaung said in 2019, DUT and the Huawei ICT Academy signed an agreement to assist businesses and institutions in developing a talent ecosystem.

“This collaboration is within our DUT ENVISION2030, of building an enabling environment that promotes dynamic curriculum that inspire innovation and entrepreneurship. Through the Huawei partnership established in 2019, we were introduced to the Tianjin Vocational Institute, who have donated and supported the launch of the Luban Workshop at DUT to promote skills training among South African students and youth with special focus in Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” said Prof Motaung.

As we approach a period when we will begin to gradually escape the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof Motaung mentioned that the focus for organizations can be on ultra-high-capacity networks, 5G, digital skills, and advanced digital technology. The changes and investments should assist SMEs in expanding their digital footprint through participation in e-commerce platforms, lowering operating costs through more efficient data processing, and allowing them to adopt and develop new solutions customized to their industries’ specific needs.

Speaking about DUT’s achievement, Ms Tsholofelo Llale from Huawei’s South Africa Enterprise Business Service Department (Regions Management Department) said: “DUT stood out from the rest based on their ICT Academy operations performance. Since they registered as a Huawei ICT Academy, they have opened more than five classes, trained more than 300 students on Huawei Certified Associate ICT certificates in Artificial Intelligence (HCIA-AI).”

She also added that the three students were recently offered a three months’ internship to prepare them for the regional finals. Furthermore, Llale mentioned that Huawei might extend their contracts should they do well in the regional finals and make it to the global finals (which may take place in China in May 2022 or might be online depending on the COVID-19 pandemic situation).

Hove, a second-year PhD student at DUT said: “We participated in the HUAWEI ICT competition preliminary exams during the period of 11 October to 24 October 2021, in which most of us excelled through hard work and dedication. After succeeding in the preliminary exams, most of the DUT students, myself included, were invited to participate in the HUAWEI ICT Competition South Africa National Final Exams on the 13 of November 2021. Through hard work, a team consisting of three DUT students, myself included were selected to represent South Africa at the regional finals in 2022 in the Huawei Cloud track competition.”

He believes this is one of many opportunities for DUT as an institution to represent South Africa during the Regional and Global Finals. Hove is certain that DUT will once again mark its dominance in producing competitive ICT students in the world through this platform.

Team member, Sibanda, a first year PhD IT student at DUT said they are ready to put DUT on the global map through their participation at this competition.

Speaking about the competition, the third member, Nhleko, an ICT graduand at DUT said it means she has to keep abreast with the evolving technology and continue to learn more so she can be competent.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement at DUT, Professor Sibusiso Moyo said: “We as DUT really appreciate the partnership we have with Huawei and we will continue engaging with them as part of our Creativity Objective – to continue inspiring innovation and entrepreneurship.”

She also congratulated the three students who represented DUT well and the staff members who continue helping the students excel.

Pictured: DUT students, Dickson Hove, Wendy Nhleko and Dumisani Sibanda who will be participating in the Huawei ICT Competition Regional Finals.

Simangele Zuma

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