Africa Code Week Aiming To Empower 2M Children With Coding Skills By 2020

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

 

Africa Code Week 2018 is underway throughout the continent, with the aim of empowering 600,000 students with coding skills this year, and a long-term vision of reaching 2 million kids by 2020.

The 600,000 school students will come from 36 African countries as part of the SAP Africa Code Week 2018 initiative running this October, according to ITWebAfrica.

Thanks to a partnership between Africa Code Week and software development group SAP which began in 2015, Africa Code Week is taking place for a fourth time this year, with the aim of empowering young African boys and girls with coding skills through playful learning methods that inspire enjoyment and creativity.

Based in Germany, software development group SAP launched the Africa Code Week initiative in 2015 as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa.

Growing each year and making an increasingly important impact on youth in Africa, the educational initiative is now funded and supported by numerous partners in addition to SAP, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as well as 15 African governments, and over 150 partners and 100 ambassadors across the continent.

Africa Code Week
Africa Code Week will see youth across Africa learning to code. Photo: Facebook

This year’s initiative was launched in Johannesburg, South Africa late last week, with Africa Code Week events taking place around the continent throughout October, and “Hour of Code” follow-up workshops set for December.

Africa Code Week aims to address skills shortage and population boom

At the moment, 40 million young people in sub-Saharan Africa are unemployed, with almost 35 percent lacking the basic skills they need to perform a job, according to the WorldBank.

Technology skills are of particular concern, especially considering the fact that, over the next 25 years, Africa’s working-age population will double to 1 billion, the United Nation’s World Population report reveals.

The initiative wishes to address that skills shortage and engage a new generation of African youth through digital skills development. By empowering teachers and communities with digital teaching tools, Africa Code Week aims to accelerate digital literacy while ensuring a more inclusive and innovation-led workforce.

Gender equality is also an issue that the program aims to address, ensuring that girls make up at least half of the 600,000 children empowered with coding skills this year.

Since inception, Africa Code Week has introduced digital skills to more than 1.8 million children across 35 countries and aims to empower 70,000 teachers while impacting the lives of 2 million youth by 2020, according to EngineeringNews.

In preparation for October’s Africa Code Week activities, Train-the-Trainer sessions were held throughout the continent from June, with thousands of teachers and parents across Africa learning basic coding skills in preparation for this week, according to ITWebAfrica.

The training sessions began in Madagascar and spread throughout the other 35 participating countries. In Madagascar alone, over 200 teachers and parents now have a basic level understanding of how to code.

The students who will be schooled in programming will learn to code using Scratch, an open-source interactive coding language that was developed by the MIT Media Lab.

Last year Africa Code Week was held across 35 African countries between Oct. 18-25, according to TechTrends.

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