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Stellenbosch University and IBM Help Meet Growing Business Demand For Technical Skills

IBM Opens First Software Centre of Excellence in South Africa

Stellenbosch, South Africa - 12 Jun 2012: Stellenbosch University and IBM (NYSE: IBM) are collaborating to help meet the shortage of Computer Science skills in South Africa. The joint academic initiative will provide equipment and training resources to Postgraduate Computer Science students, helping them develop much-needed technical skills. As part of the program, IBM today opened its first Software Centre of Excellence at Stellenbosch University (SU).

Today's digital-savvy consumers are driving companies to re-engineer their business models. New products are expected to integrate into the lives of consumers and adapt to their individual needs. In response to these dynamic buyer behaviours, companies are accelerating innovation in the embedded software that makes products smarter, and in the back-end software services connecting these products. This requires a technology skills base for companies to draw from.

Stellenbosch University in collaboration with IBM, is addressing the need for students to build strong software development skills. A first-of-its-kind centre of excellence in South Africa, which includes a post-graduate computer laboratory in the SU Computer Science Division, with advanced software including the Rational development environment, will provide a fully-fledged software production environment for students to hone their technology skills. 

The Centre is intended to significantly boost the training and support of computer science professionals at the University. Students will also benefit from an on-going training and development programme offered by IBM.

“It is important for us to energise the classroom and that calls for integrating the latest technology into our curriculum in order to prepare students for high-value job opportunities," says Prof Ingrid Rewitzky, Vice-Dean: Teaching of the SU Faculty of Science and chair of the SU Department of Mathematical Sciences (including Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science).

The COE opening is part of a long term relationship between the University and IBM. The company has regularly supported postgraduate courses in Computer Science. 

“In order to nurture sufficient highly skilled computer professionals to support our growing technological environment, we need to match high-quality education with exposure to state-of-the-art and emerging technologies that matter to business,” says Sean McLean, University Relations for IBM. “We expect the COE at Stellenbosch and others like it to be fully independent in the next five years.” 

IBM is already supporting similar centres at other colleges and universities worldwide, including Nigeria and India, to develop graduates with business and technology skills. 

“IBM’s provision of state-of-the-art software and technology makes it possible for our academics and postgraduate students to use the latest technology in their teaching, learning and research initiatives,” adds Prof Rewitzky. “This supports our efforts to train highly skilled computer scientists, and to meet the industry demands for such skills in South Africa and beyond.” 

IBM’s Academic Initiative is a global programme that facilitates the collaboration between IBM and educators to teach students the information technology skills they need to be competitive and keep pace with changes in the workplace. 

For more about Stellenbosch University Division of Division of Computer Sciences, Stellenbosch University Department of Mathematical Sciences (including Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Computer Science), visit http://www.cs.sun.ac.za/ 

For more information about IBM's university programs, visit www.ibm.com/press/university or http://www.ibm.com/academicinitiative

Contact(s) information

Ari Fishkind
IBM Media Relations
1-914-499-6420
fishkind@us.ibm.com

Lisa Rautenbach
IBM Media Relations, South Africa
+27 11 302 9255
lisaraut@za.ibm.com

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