Free coding training launched for South African high school students

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South African non-profit organisation Code for Change has launched a free-to-use coding and front-end web development training platform for South African high school learners.

The platform is available on both desktop and mobile devices and makes it easy for learners to access the organisation’s CodeJIKA programme.

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CodeJIKA was launched in 2017 and has reached over 250 schools, 26,500 learners, and 1,520 teachers.

It teaches foundational coding, web development, and computer science skills and is designed primarily for under-resourced, offline, and mobile-oriented schools and communities.

Code for Change said it works closely with the Department of Basic Education to drive computer science uptake in South Africa and to shape future curricula to encompass computer science skills.

Coding crucial for the future

Dell Technologies South Africa is one of the project’s flagship sponsors and believes that initiatives such as these are crucial for South African youths.

“Coding is no longer a luxury but a necessary skill for youth to have – it encourages innovation and is a skill that can be used across the technology spectrum,” said Head of Transformation for Dell Technologies South Africa Natasha Reuben.

“We believe that by introducing coding skills to kids from a young age, it enables them to start building critical skills, such as being able to problem solve, to persevere and to become solutions-minded.”

CodeJIKA co-founder Jonathan Novotny believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has made digital skills even more important.

“Given the new reality of work ushered in by the global COVID-19 pandemic, it has never been more critical for South African youth to become skilled in a discipline that will become increasingly more important in the future of work,” Novotny said.

“Coding is the language of the future, and by teaching these skills to our youth now, they will gain valuable digital skills before entering the job market.”

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) recently outlined its Digital and Future Skills Strategy.

Key to this strategy, said the DCDT, is driving digital literacy and fluency in South African schools by evolving the curriculum to address the important digital skills of the future.

Subjects and topics for which students should be prepared include:

  • 3D printing
  • Algorithms design and use
  • Artificial Intelligence Applications
  • Big data analytics
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital Content Design
  • Drone applications
  • Gamification
  • Mechatronics and robotics
  • Software engineering

“Curriculum review should give attention to language and mathematics curricula, since these provide foundation knowledge for digital learning,” added the DCDT.

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