Nakimera, an eighth grader from Luweero, Uganda, excitedly points to the screen and exclaims, “The java script snippet I painstakingly typed into my html website works!”
She is in one of the classes at Kasiiso Secondary School that has been chosen to participate in the coding pilot programme offered by CodeJIKA to 50 secondary schools across the country.
Training university students to be “Code Coaches” has impacted tens of thousands of learners and hundreds of teachers in Uganda alone. The same scenario plays out on a daily basis from Ghana to Kenya and all the way down to CodeJIKA’s home country of South Africa, as youth become irreversibly hooked on the power of code to build and create.
Tangible Africa’s mobile coding had a breakout year in South Africa, with large-scale teacher training in partnership with Teacher’s Unions and civil society organisations across the provinces. And what better way to celebrate these achievements than with an Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11.
The premise of the week-long celebration and the famous “Hour of Code” campaign that popularised it is that “every student should have the opportunity to study Computer Science”.
How to Participate in Computer Science Week
Whether you are new to coding or want to learn more about computer science, we encourage high school students and teachers to do an hour of coding by participating in one or all of the CSEdWeek activities.
• Beginners: Start by trying out the 5-Minute Website on your phone on CodeJIKA.org
• Intermediate: Try Project 1-3
• Advanced: If you are looking for a challenge, try Project 4, it creates an incredible java script game.
Certificates are automatically generated on the platform for those who complete the activities mentioned above.
HourofCode.com offers a fantastic selection of online free activities for classes and children. To learn more about what is going on in your area, go to https://codejika.org/csed-week/.
Coding Trends in African Schools
While Africa has lagged for many years, the progress in 2022 demonstrates an enormous appetite and faster uptake than expected. Many secondary school core curriculums across the continent now include HTML as a prerequisite for learning functional programming languages such as java script or Python.
African-born coding solutions such as CodeJIKA’s “Offline Web Development for Teens” and Tangible Africa’s free “Offline mobile game TANKS” are gaining traction in South Africa and a dozen other African countries. Tangible Africa recently finished second to the African Union, and CodeJIKA was a finalist for ITTPSA’s Social Impact Award.
The reach of these free, mobile-friendly, and offline solutions is expanding at an exponential rate, while Africa Code Week, which began in 2015, continues to provide the exposure required for governments to take action and accelerate curricular inclusion for these topics.
“While policy and curricular interventions have accelerated, implementation will be a marathon requiring the attention of teacher associations, educational authorities, and government budgets. What inspires me is the outpouring of community support and the drive of learners to form clubs and continue their own coding journeys even after courses have ended.
“2022 appears to be the African coding milestone.”
From now on, coding education will be truly mainstreamed in 10%-20% of schools across the continent. And it will only get bigger from there.
“We’ve definitely reached a tipping point in terms of public interest and government will to move this forward,” says Jonathan Novotny, long-time computer science education enthusiast and co-founder of the CodeJIKA initiative.
Only time will tell what the future holds, but perhaps the continent’s tech-savvy youth will be game changers, creating solutions to empower their communities. Viva la Africa!