By Richard Mugisha
Uganda is soon adding “coding hub” to its long list of competitive advantages. This journey has gained traction after the ICT Teachers Association of Uganda (ITAU) reached a new partnership with Africa Code Week to promote teaching of coding in schools, a statement by SAP SE revealed.
SAP a German multinational software corporation, sometimes known by its full name Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing.
There is a growing demand in developed nations for schools to teach children programming from an early age. This is because most parents believe that learning how to program at a young age sets up a child for a lifetime of success.
In most developing countries, including Uganda, however, the earliest one is exposed to such is at university, in case they are pursuing a computer or information technology-related course.
Africa Code Week (ACW) is an initiative that seeks to empower young people and help give them skills they need to thrive in the digital age. Young boys and girls across Africa have an opportunity to gain skills in creating online programs through learning how to code.
In the three years since ACW launched in 2015, the initiative has engaged over 4 million youth and 50,000 teachers on digital learning. The goal is to expand the impact to a further 2 million youth and 70,000 teachers by 2021.
Spearheaded by SAP in 2015 as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa, Africa Code Week is a digital skills development initiative that has benefitted millions of young Africans so far.
Since the launch of ACW in 2015, several countries including Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia have included digital literacy into their respective school curricula. This progressive adoption of digital skills into the school curriculum of several African countries points to the growing influence of educational initiatives such as ACW in preparing the continent’s youth for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Since the launch of ACW in 2015, several countries including Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia have included digital literacy into their respective school curricula.ACW
In Uganda, at the launch of Africa Code Week 2019 at Rubaga Girls school in October 2019, Prossy Wanyama, one of the Trainers at Mindset Coders Uganda noted that whereas the children in schools are very interested in learning coding, the biggest challenge is with the teachers who don’t see the relevance in teaching what is not examinable at UNEB.
Africa Code Week- Uganda has impacted over 10000+ students, 900+ trainers trained and impacted across the country with over 15 implementing partners on board since 2016.
Africa Code Week – Uganda’s training model involves training trainers, including school teachers and university students to facilitate student sessions at schools. Trainings are funded by several partners.
Meanwhile, while commenting on the AfriCANCode Challenge and the urgent need to prepare youth with digital skills learning, Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information at UNESCO said that more than 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under the age of 25, making it the most youthful region in the world.
“The continent’s working-age population is expected to swell by two-thirds reaching 600 million by 2030. It’s clearly critical to ensure Africa’s youth is fully equipped with 21st century digital skills. Harnessing the power of creativity, technology and innovation can also inspire us to unite and be ready to meet today’s challenges,” Chakchouk said.