New innovations help SAP Africa Code Week inspire next generation of African coders

SAP Africa Code Week, Africa's biggest digital skills initiative

SAP Africa Code Week, Africa’s biggest digital skills initiative, is celebrating a successful 2020 programme that included a switch to all-virtual teaching, the launch of a smartphone app, a continent-wide coding competition and a host of online Train-the-Trainer sessions aimed at empowering teachers with critical digital teaching skills.

The 2020 programme had to contend with the impact of a global pandemic that forced the closure of schools across the continent and left an estimated 250 million youth away from physical classrooms.

Claudio Muruzabal, Regional President Europe Middle East Africa, EMEA, South at SAP and Africa Code Week Executive Sponsor, note the programme’s impact on enabling sustainable coding learning for youth across Africa. “In the face of immense challenges, ACW’s thriving ecosystem of partners, ambassadors, volunteers, teachers and students stepped up to ensure that girls and boys across the continent could learn the critical digital skills they need to build a better future.

“The programme’s impact on transforming digital learning at school level is further ensuring every African child has an opportunity to become an active contributor to the global digital economy.”

The ACW vision is to encourage African governments to adopt coding in their national curricula. In a survey conducted in participating countries in 2020, nine African countries indicated that coding is a part of the national curriculum, and ten more indicated they are implementing plans to incorporate coding within their curricula. The survey also found that 87% of respondents agreed that the programme plays an influential role in advancing the adoption of coding curriculum.

 Continent-wide competition inspires youth innovation

In a first for the programme, the launch of the continent-wide AfriCANCode Challenge saw youth aged 8 to 16 compete individually or in teams to imagine the ‘future of education’ through a Scratch game and a two-minute video explaining why their concept should win. More than 1,800 youth from 40 African countries participated, with the top 3 winners 10-year old Soliyana Gizaw from Ethiopia, 15-year old Kayla Esterhuizen from South Africa and 16-year old Sara Benmessai from Algeria – all three of whom are girls – announced recently.

Presenting awards to the recipients in Abuja, the Minister of State for Education, Federal Ministry of Education Nigeria, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, stated that the winners of AfriCAN Code Challenge have shown hard work, dedication and commitment.

He revealed that the African Code challenge is aimed at providing support and inspiration to inter-disciplinary teams of 8 – 16-year-old students who are knowledgeable in coding, using Scratch, which inspires innovative and critical thinking in students to improve their digital literacy in Nigeria.

He then commended the positive resolution of the Ministry to expand the Coding and Robotics programme to involve all 104 Federal Unity Colleges, adding that the Ministry has just concluded the coding and robotics training of trainers for all 104 colleges.

Building toward ongoing sustainable impact

By 2025, two-thirds of Africa’s population is expected to make use of a smartphone, making mobile access to learning resources critical. The introduction of the first-ever ACW app has extended learning and teaching beyond the classroom, with dedicated coding resources available for free in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic on any Android device. Training material within the app was developed by programme partners, including Code.orgUNESCOMIT and CET.

Despite the impact of the pandemic, the 2020 edition of ACW engaged 1.5 million youth, of which nearly half (48%) were girls. More than 10,500 workshops were hosted across 43 countries, and 21,000 teachers were mobilised through virtual and in-person Train-the-Trainer sessions.

Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, for EMEA and Africa Code Week founder and Global Lead at SAP, says the changes introduced to the 2020 programme have laid a foundation for sustainable impact across the continent. “By switching to virtual teaching, expanding access to teacher workshops, breaking into new territories and inspiring youth to develop their solutions to problems in their communities through the AfriCANCode Challenge, ACW is geared to continue playing a vital role in the future of Africa’s youth in a world forever changed by the pandemic.”

– Mar. 3, 2021 @ 16:46 GMT |

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