Everywhere we go we are surrounded by products and systems that require digital control thus, basic responses such as touching our keyboards to the design of apps, websites, and other software rely on coding to operate - even a microwave relies on code/digital instruction to function.
Coding allows humanity to move forward with ease in almost every aspect of life due to the various digital systems we make use of in our daily lives.
Daniel Sahombo (15) from Matumbo Angelina Ribebe Secondary School in Namibia first heard about coding from a tv show (game shakers) in 2016. Coding complemented his passion for computers and mathematics, and he narrated his participation in Africa Code Week with gusto.
I have learned that coding is not only a career possibility, but the skills can be used for recreational purposes, competitive advantages to build computational thinking, and to build confidence
Africa Code Week (ACW) is currently Africa's largest digital literacy initiative that creates opportunities for young Africans to learn coding skills for free and provides a platform for teachers to be trained on digital learning curricula across the continent.
The opportunities presented by ACW is the ability to connect a community of schools in a digital manner, that crosses so many boundaries where schools from even the remotest of areas can address their digital problems and learn together. The training also equips schools with the necessary resources and guidance to form coding clubs, to nurture the skills of young innovators.
To fast-track sustainable development in meeting the SDG targets for education, UNESCO YouthMobile collaborated with SAP and Glowdom as the local implementing partner to support the ACW initiative in Namibia for 2020.
For beneficiaries like Daniel, this opportunity was a dream come true as COVID-19 reinforced the importance of coding and how it is shaping the future.
More support is needed to provide materials and further training for the younger generation that have a passion for coding but do not have the resources needed for coding
Students from De Duine Secondary School (Erongo region) through the Africa Code Challenge under the theme “Courageous Coders: How Will Your Tech Change the Future of Education?” coded two games to respond to this year’s theme and won second and third place. The games were created using Scratch software, which was the main curriculum for the training.
Description and objective of the games:
Numbers in words - Help children younger than 8 years old to write out numbers correctly in words.
Easy numbers – Help children struggling with basic mathematics.
For 2020 ACW in Namibia covered 14 regions, reaching 61 schools, benefiting 1220 learners (an average of 20 learners per school) and 183 teachers (an average of 4 teachers per school).
Schools from rural and urban areas collaborated through coding clubs and created platforms for these clubs to engage and host events e.g. coding competitions and webinars.
To expand digital literacy across the country, initiatives like ACW assist to identify and create contextualized resources needed to successfully deploy digital literacy.