Top speaker line-up announced for the Future of Education summit 2022

Leaders in business and academia will tackle The Pathway to Digital Transformation as they engage in one-on-one interviews and panel discussions at the 8th Annual Future of Education Summit, by CNBC AFRICA in partnership with FORBES AFRICA. This free-to-attend, virtually hosted event takes place on Friday, 29 July from 10.30am to 3.30pm, and is set to lead the dialogue on digital solutions in the tertiary education sector.

“We’re very excited to welcome global leaders who have navigated digital platforms and are advancing the access and functionality of this space for the continent,” said Dr Rakesh Wahi, Co-founder of the ABN Group and Founder of the Future of Education Summit. “The time for adopting digital solutions is now, but navigating a path that overcomes the challenges faced by the continent requires collaboration. That’s why we’re so looking forward to the solutions-driven approach of our speakers.”

Dr Wahi, who will be welcoming this year’s audience, is a visionary entrepreneur who has been involved with early-stage investments in emerging markets for the last 30 years. He is a well-respected member of the investment community and has distinguished himself in the field of IT, telecoms, media, technology and education investments. Alongside his role in the summit and with ABN Group, Dr Wahi is Chairman of CMA Investment Holdings that has representation through its portfolio companies in over 20 countries.

The 2022 Future of Education panellists

Bradley Pulford, Managing Director for HP, is one of the high-profile speakers joining the Future of Education Summit. In his role as Managing Director for HP Africa, Pulford is keen to support and enhance the continent’s rapidly accelerating economic growth and further HP’s vision of diversity and inclusion.

Pulford is set to unpack the importance of digital equity in elevating the African education system during the Technology Challenges in Teaching and Learning panel discussion. Recent research conducted by HP shows that, while educators are positive about the future of the profession, there is an urgent need to improve their soft skills for future-proofing classrooms. During his discussion, Pulford will unpack how private-public partnerships contribute to elevating the education fraternity and providing long-term support for educators.

Pulford will be joined by Dan Adkins, Group CEO for Transnational Academic Group, responsible for teaching in the Foundation and Business programmes. With a solid grounding in the IT industry worldwide, and an MBA and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Business Research from Herriot-Watt University, Adkins is well-versed in the uses of technology in the tertiary sector. He has lectured at university level across a number of subjects, and has overseen the development of multiple foundation programmes while also providing seminars on education for TEDx.

Also speaking on the topic is Prof Barry Dwolatzky, an Emeritus Professor and Director of Innovation Strategy at the University of Witwatersrand. Prof Dwolatzky, who has more than 30 years of experience leading students into the digital future, also serves as the Chief Visionary Officer for the Tshimologong Precinct, and is the Director and CEO of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering.

He will be joined by Suraj Shah, Lead for the Regional Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Mastercard Foundation (the Centre) who is responsible for the implementation of partnerships between the Centre and the various governments and ministries of education in Africa. He is currently aligning EdTech entrepreneurs with the governments of Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana, with the view to scale up technology innovations to improve teaching and learning in secondary education at scale. He is passionate about women’s empowerment and nurturing innovation and research among in sub-Saharan Africa.

The topic of Digital Transformation in Education will be taken on by Prof Gary Martin, CEO and Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Management since 2012. He is tasked with leading all aspects of the business, focussed on building leadership, management and workplace capability in Australia and internationally, across the corporate, government, not-for-profit and community sectors.

He is joined by Dr Kirti Menon, the Senior Director for the Division for Teaching Excellence at the University of Johannesburg who has served on national task teams with a research focus on access, exclusion and redress in higher education. As a Research Associate affiliated to the UJ Faculty of Education, Dr Menon is widely published in the fields of higher education, curriculum transformation, social exclusion and access.

Another expert addressing digital transformation is Prof Seth Kunin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, Australia’s seventh largest university – and one of the most international. Kunin’s portfolio includes international relations; marketing, recruitment and admissions; transnational education through branch campuses and partnerships; study abroad and exchange; international scholarships; and quality.

Prof Mark Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor University of Southampton, brings in-depth knowledge to the panel having published more than 380 papers on advanced magnetic resonance techniques throughout his career. In his position at the university, he also holds a number of external appointments including membership of Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Board; Senior Independent Member of UKRI EPSRC’s Council; and board member of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, chairing their Research Wales Committee.

Unpacking Lessons from Covid & Developed World Transformation Strategies for African Education is another esteemed panel line-up, among them Prof Stan du Plessis, COO and Economics Professor and Stellenbosch University, a specialist in macroeconomics and monetary policy who has advised the South African Reserve Bank and National Treasury on macroeconomic policy.

Prof Kirk Semple, Director of International Engagement of Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University; will share his insights garnered over 30 years in academia, specialising in environmental microbiology. In his current role, he’s been involved in international activities and partnerships for the university, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of the Witwatersrand, has been instrumental in establishing South Africa’s first experimental high-energy physics research group at CERN, working on the Large Hadron Collider. He has fostered international collaborative research as Director of iThemba LABS where he initiated a flagship rare, isotope beam (RIB) project. He has also played a role in securing a place for African academic partners in the development of practical applications through access to the IBM Quantum Computing network.

They are joined by Adetomi Soyinka, Director of Programmes and Regional Portfolio Lead for the British Councils Higher Education Programme in Sub Saharan Africa, with more than 15 years’ experience working in the commercial and international development sectors and a demonstrated track record of achievement in the design and delivery of multiple youth centred projects across education, skills for employability and enterprise.

The British Council is collaborating on the summit, showcasing its commitment to investing in education and opportunity in Africa. Commenting on this, Soyinka said: “Education and innovation are critical pathways to improve economic well-being of Africa’s future, and being part of this summit aligns with our vision of connecting international education communities, identifing mutually beneficial collaboration areas, removing learning barriers, and facilitating partnerships between various higher education sectors in Africa.”

Tackling the Transformation of Higher Education Leadership is Prof Malcolm McIver, CEO and Provost of Lancaster University in Ghana. He’s an experienced academic and education manager with a successful history of working in the higher education industry, international education, and transnational education.

Jon Foster-Pedley, Dean and Director of Henley Business School in Africa – the first school to be accredited by The Association of Africa Business schools (AABS) – will also lend his expertise to the panel. Henley forms part of the Henley Business School UK, a leading global business school with campuses in Europe, Asia and Africa. He boasts 45 years of international working experience as a professor of innovation, MBA director, director of executive education, designer and director of numerous executive education programmes, and lecturer in strategy, innovation and executive learning. His interests are economic and educational transformation, sustainability and business evolution.

Jaye Richards-Hill, Director of Education Industry for Middle East and Africa, Microsoft Corp, will also provide her unique perspective on the topic when she joins the panel. She has more than 30 years of international experience in teaching and training in the education and corporate sectors. Richards-Hill has also worked on government-level projects, including the recent Operation Phakisa Education Lab for the Office of the President in South Africa; and the Scottish Qualifications Authority Future Models of Assessment group; and was a member of the ICT in Education Excellence Group – a collective of education experts which advised the Scottish Secretary of State for Education on reforms to the national eLearning project and technology-driven transformation.

For the panel discussion on The Schools Business: Digital Transformation in Formal K-12 Schooling and Supplementary Tutoring, audiences can look forward to hearing from Edward Mosuwe, Head of Gauteng Department of Education, responsible for the overall leadership and management of the department, as well as serving as the accounting officer. Mosuwe has extensive experience in education having served as an academic at the then Technikon Witwatersrand (now the University of Johannesburg) and as a policy developer and a bureaucrat within the public service at national level.

Joining Mosuwe on the panel is Stacey Brewer, Co-founder and CEO of Spark Schools, an independent private school network which provides high quality, affordable education to previously underserved communities. Dean McCoubrey, Founder of the multi-award-winning EdTech Digital Citizenship Program and MySociaLife – teaching pupils media literacy and online safety – also joins the panel. He brings valuable insight into online learning, currently training Child Psychiatry Units on the latest online challenges to child development. Dean has also spoken at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Qatar (2019), The World Education Conference in Mumbai (2020) and World Mental Health Congress (June 2021), alongside many local education and mind health events.

Yandiswa Xhakaza, Director and Principal of UCT Online High School – one of the event sponsors -will join the discussion, bringing her expertise as an educationalist with significant experience in South Africa’s basic education sector.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Future of Education Summit this year as a key speaker on behalf of UCT Online High School, our extended team of teachers, learning designers and support coaches,” said Xhakaza. “I will be discussing UCT Online High School’s successes to date, market impact, learning technology advancements and unpacking the issue of the digital divide. Along with Valenture Institute, we’re committed to accelerating access to world-class high school education, so that we can unleash South Africa’s potential.”

The 2022 Future of Education individual speakers

This year’s keynote address will be given by Prof Andy Schofield, Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University and an award-winning theoretical physicist working in the area of condensed matter physics specialising in correlated electrons. He studied Natural Sciences followed by a PhD at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he was appointed to a Research Fellowship in 1992. He moved to the USA in 1994 working at Rutgers for two years before returning to Cambridge.

During a one-on-one session, Bello Tongo the CEO of Tongston Entrepreneurship will discuss the topic Incorporating Entrepreneurship Thinking in Education from Primary to Tertiary Levels. Tongo has extensive experience as a multi- multi-award-winning entrepreneur, educator and industry leader whose company is one of the top 50 global education organisations according to the Global Forum for Education & Learning.

Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg and recently appointed Deputy Chair of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution will also engage in a one-one-one interview focusing on Transformation in the Education Sector. As an accomplished scholar with multi-disciplinary research interests – artificial intelligence in engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine – Prof Marwala will bring unique insights into this topic.

Included in this year’s one-one-one interview is Robert Paddock, the CEO and Founder of Valenture Institute, a social enterprise turning physical limitations into digital opportunities by enabling students to choose an aspirational school regardless of their circumstances.

Don’t miss out on these dynamic discussions that unlock technological potential for the tertiary education space! To book your place at the free-to-attend Future of Education webinar, register here https://hopin.com/events/future-of-education-summit-29-july-2022.

CNBC AFRICA in partnership with FORBES AFRICA extended thanks to the sponsors, The British Council, HP and the Transnational Academic Group, and UCT Online High School.

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