By SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MORE than 400 teachers in Botswana have undergone training in computer coding as part of a globally-recognised, continent wide initiative to equip youth in the continent with the requisite digital skills.
Multinational software corporation, SAP, along with its partners and Botswana’s Ministry of Basic Education, successfully trained the educators this week through a series of Train-the-Trainer sessions in preparation for SAP Africa Code Week 2017.
Founded in 2015, Africa Code Week is returning to the continent for the third time in October, with a goal to empower 500 000 young Africans with coding skills through hands-on, playful learning.
Gathered at Gaborone Senior Secondary School and Mochudi Resource Centre, all participants were trained to teach basic coding skills to their pupils using Scratch, a coding education programme designed by the MIT Media Lab to simplify the face of coding for the young generations.
“For coding to become an integral part of the school curriculum, teachers must be equipped with efficient, reliable teaching tools and materials,” said Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Africa Code Week Global Lead.
She disclosed in 2016 more than 5 600 teachers and educators were trained, many of whom continue their coding journey to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people.
Through Africa Code Week, SAP’s long-term goal is to empower more than 200 000 teachers, and reach more than 5 million children and youth over the next ten years.
Spearheaded by SAP and supported by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Youth Mobile initiative together with hundreds of public and private partners across Africa, last year’s events introduced coding to 426 000 youth across 30 countries over the course of nine days.
This year, Africa Code Week will take place across 35 African countries between October 18-25.
Gillissen-Duval said the Train-the-Trainer workshops in Gaborone provided a platform for the transfer of skills and knowledge from SAP Skilled Volunteers (‘Master Coding Instructors’) to local parents, teachers and educators, enabling them to teach coding to children and youth in their respective communities.
“Fully in line with SAP’s vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, Africa Code Week is on a mission to prepare Africa’s young generations to seize the unprecedented opportunities offered by the global, digital economy,” she said.
Bennedict Tekere, CEO of Ngwana Enterprises, an implementing partner of Africa Code Week in Botswana, said they planned to empower thousands of children with coding skills.
Dr Unity Dow, Botswana Minister of Basic Education said sustainable, ICT-driven national growth would only be achieved through the development of local skills and expertise, with a particular emphasis on the development of ICT skills in children and young adults.
The minister underlined the importance of private-public partnerships in this day and age.
“The Ministry of Basic Education is proud to endorse Africa Code Week and I could not encourage you more to take part and leverage this opportunity to become fluent in the language of the 21st century,” Dow said.
– CAJ News
By SAVIOUS KWINIKA