During the 2018 Africa Code Week (ACW) activities in Zimbabwe, 24 000 students were trained in digital literacy and coding skills. The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE) joined 35 other African countries to encourage the young generation to be the drivers of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The 2018 edition of ACW in Zimbabwe was a resounding success as the team reached 24 000 students going beyond the targeted 5000 students. The training was targeting primary and secondary school learners.
In 2016, only Harare participated in the activities and 4000 learners were trained with remote supervision. More areas were reached in 2017 i.e Masvingo, Bulawayo, Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South and Midlands with a total of 1965 learners trained. Supervision was done remotely due to scare resources.
The ACW training content was largely drawn from scratch material supplied by SAP committee members as part of the e-learning model, which seeks to promote the integration of ICTs across all the learning areas as identified in the Curriculum Framework (2015-2022).
With the financial support of SAP and UNESCO, intensive on the ground monitoring was done resulting in a huge number of learners being trained with traceable registers all over the involved provinces.
In 2018, two provinces were targeted Manicaland and Mashonaland East with 6 and 9 districts reached respectively. An additional 2 provinces supported the activities namely Bulawayo and Midlands. The districts were students were identified are: Mutare, Makoni, Chimanimani, Nyanga, Buhera, Chipinge, Marondera, Hwedza, Seke, Goromonzi, Murehwa, Mudzi, Mutoko and Chikomba.
Students who benefited from the training enjoyed working with the Scratch software and gave positive feedback post the training. One learner said, “Well I think it was educative...because not all of us knew something like that existed. It also gives people something to do on holidays because some students will want to know more about the programme.”
Other learners also described the programme as educative, helpful and interesting. When asked what they would say to the sponsors of the programme, some mentioned they would urge the sponsors to continue supporting the programme as it is amazing and educative.
Teachers who participated in the training also gave positive feedback about the programme. One teacher said, “Africa Code Week could not have come at a better time than it did. The programme lifted facilitators and learners’ spirits. Through it both learners and facilitators like me, can now create our own learning programmes like quiz, animations, educational games etc. Our learners are now able to collaborate with learners from other countries across the globe”.
“For teachers it is a very vital tool for the creation of teaching/learning audio/visual aids. Learners can grasp the content better when presented in animated form, hence they tend to rarely forget easily. The programme should actually be spread nationwide so that most, if not all educators have the basic knowledge of how to use the coding programme in preparation and delivery of lesson,” said another teacher.
Additionally, another teacher noted the positive impact of the training programme on learners. “It creates zeal in learners in wanting to explore, hence their mastery in ICT skills is enhanced. This is in line with the current thrust in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, for every teacher and learner to be ICT literate.”
Africa Code Week is the biggest digital literacy event of the continent. It aim is to raise awareness of ICT for a critical mass of participants. UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative has established a long-term partnership with SAP to make the event a resounding success.
The long-term goal of Africa Code Week is to widen access to coding workshops and resources to more than 5 million children and youth by 2025. Africa Code Week 2018 was divided in two main phases: the training of teachers, followed by the training of students.