africa code week
  • The time has come to introduce basic coding to the SA education system, says Communications Deputy Minister, Pinky Kekana.
  • eSwatini’s Train-the-Trainer (TTT) series empowered hundreds of local teachers and parents with digital skills showcasing program’s community-capacity vision at its best.

More than 300 local teachers and parents showed their support at Mbabane’s Royal Science and Technology Park this week to learn 21st century skills in the run-up to Africa Code Week (ACW) 2018. eSwatini’s Train-the-Trainer (TTT) series took place over two days and provided hands-on learning in coding and digital skills using the open-source Scratch learning interface.

“ACW TTTs are designed to make teachers’ life easier as they introduce digital skills in the classroom. Over the next four months our expert volunteers will travel far and wide to empower teachers with skills and teaching materials that will enable them to integrate digital learning into the school curriculum,” says Karolina Telejko, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Project Lead for Africa Code Week.

Taking place in October, the ACW live workshops aim to reach more than 600 000 youth across 36 African countries with a key focus on community empowerment and female skills development in support of the #eskills4girls initiative. Now in its fourth year, the SAP-led program continues to grow in popularity across the continent thanks to a fast-growing network of schools, supporting governments, private sector partners, non-profits and local communities working together to unite against the digital and gender skills gap. “ACW 2018 will focus on sustaining the impact of the program through capacity-building efforts – which is exactly what eSwatini showcased this week as the country saw local teachers and parents share the knowledge they gained from previous TTT events. Participants help create awareness and excitement for coding and digital skills and ultimately support ACW’s efforts in empowering 70,000 teachers and 2 million youth by 2020.”

With 80% of all jobs expected to be Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related by 2020, bold approaches are required to bring coherence and scale to digital literacy interventions across Africa. “Communications Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana’s announcement in June that basic coding will be introduced into the South African formal education system point to an opportune time for Africa Code Week to bring its vision to life,” adds Telejko.

eSwatini, a landlocked sovereign state in Southern Africa, is one of the smallest countries on the continent with a young population of which 37.4% are 14 years and younger. “Recognizing our sizeable youth population and the vital role of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the digital economy, eSwatini launched a National ICT Policy in 2007 to which ACW’s objectives align very well,” comments Mr Tsela Mgcibelo, Senior Inspector of ICT for the Ministry of Education.

“ACW proves that public-private partnerships can be a strategic means to affect transformation. We are proud to be part of this programme and look forward to providing an avenue to generate employment for our youth while helping them to become valuable contributors to the global digital economy.”

Spearheaded by SAP CSR EMEA in 2015 and now actively supported by UNESCO YouthMobile, the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education TrustGoogle and over 150 public and private partners, Africa Code Week will take place throughout the course of October providing learners from 8-16 years of age the opportunity to write their first lines of code, learn computational thinking and explore enabling technologies.