Seeds for the Future was a life-changing experience, from learning Mandarin in Beijing to building a 4G network in a Huawei laboratory in Shenzhen, meeting and connecting with fellow African ICT students from Nigeria and Ivory Coast, my world has expanded through this one amazing opportunity, says Lwando Ngcama, a first-year software development and IT student from Nelson Mandela University.
Ngcama was among ten South African ICT University students who recently completed a study trip to China sponsored by Huawei in partnership with the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services. The Seeds for the Future Programme is Huawei’s flagship global CSR project and is aimed at giving students access to the latest ICT solutions like IoT, LTE and Cloud.
The training started in China’s capital Beijing where the students spent a week learning Mandarin, Chinese Painting and Calligraphy. They also toured the Ancient Great Wall and the Forbidden City. The Beijing cultural study programme culminated in a written and oral exam which all ten students passed.
In her address to the students, South African Ambassador to China Ms Dolana Msimang said, “ICT was developing at a rapid pace in China, fuelling new economic growth. I urge you to take the ICT skills and insights which you get here and use them to further your personal careers and build up the pool of ICT professionals in South Africa.”
She also expressed her approval that there was a 50-50 gender split in the group and that Huawei and DTPS had chosen students from universities across South Africa, including the Universities of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.
Durban University of Technology student Sabrina Govender, says the telecommunication classes were quite intense at first, but the learning was invaluable. “The level IoT implementation and the overall technology deployment in China sets them apart from the rest of the world. It opened my eyes to the vast possibilities which could possibly be implemented back home in order to make our lives better,” she added.
A fellow student from Mpumalanga University, Precious Leutle, says she now has a greater understanding of the transformative power of ICT. “The Huawei Solution Lab, inspired me to think outside the box because I saw long-term solutions to real-world problems and I want to be part of the generation that will offer that to the world.”
Huawei SA spokesperson Vanashree Govender who accompanied the students on the China trip, says it was a privilege to experience China through the eyes of the 2018 Seeds for the Future.
“Before arriving in China the students didn’t fully understand the power of connectivity, in China they got a first-hand experience of how a cell phone can change how we work, live and play. They saw IoT in practice on the streets, from connected bicycles to mobile payments and cloud computing in smart transport and safe city solutions.”