6 ACW ambassadors selected for the Scratch Education Collaborative program

Africa Code Week is proud to announce that not one, but six ACW ambassadors and implementing partners have been selected to join an education and development program by the world’s largest free coding platform, Scratch. Siyafunda Community Technology Centre (South Africa), Girls in STEM Trust (Zimbabwe), MindSet Coders (Uganda), Creativity Lab (Rwanda), OIC Foundation (Nigeria), and Webfala Digital Skills for all Initiative (Nigeria) are part of the 91 other organisations from across the globe joining the 2022-2024 Scratch Education Collaborative program (SEC).

The program will include a series of collaborative learning experiences co-developed and co-facilitated by Scratch and partner organizations. Over a period of two years, the organisations will work to create a self-sustaining community of practice and establish models for equity-centred creative coding resources.

Bridging the skills gap in Africa

“Africa is burdened by a massive digital skills gap, which according to the World Economic Forum, is diluting economic opportunities and development. ACW and its partners cannot close this gap alone,” says Olajide Ademola Ajayi, Africa Code Week’s Global Coordinator. “Collaboration is key and seeing ACW ambassadors nominated to join such a big global program means we could accelerate closing Africa’s digital skills gap faster.”

Ahmed Ismail, Founder of Siyafunda Community Technology Centre, a South African non-profit organization and one of the ACW implementing partners, says being selected for this program means we can help shape the future of Scratch education in South African classrooms and across the continent. “We plan on incorporating this milestone by further advancing South African Basic Education by working with educators to improve the quality of the local curriculum.”

He adds, “We will also work to increase access to digital education for South African children, especially girls. We believe that education is the key to improving the lives of people in underserved locations, and we will do everything to help make it a reality for more people.”

Building on the ACW foundation

Since 2015, ACW has reached millions of African teachers and children and plans to partner closely with policymakers and governments to help transform Africa’s education agenda by including digital literacy in the national curricula.

Valentine Masicha, founder of MindSet Coders in Uganda and an ACW ambassador, says joining the SEC program means building on foundation blocks laid by ACW. “This will enhance the already existing knowledge from ACW and open our eyes to the opportunities available to build learning resources.”

She adds, “We would like to enhance creative computing for learners in and out of schools with a special focus on differently-abled children.

Digital skills for Africa and beyond

According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, over 200 million jobs across the continent will require some level of digital skills by 2030. Beyond Africa, there are approximately 97 million new jobs could emerge from the introduction of machines and algorithms by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum.

Victoria Nxumalo, the Executive Director of Girls In STEM Trust in Zimbabwe and one of the ACW ambassadors joining the SEC programs, will enable global opportunities. “Girls In STEM Trust is thrilled to be part of the SEC cohort 2 as it allows us to collaborate and network with like-minded organisations across the globe to learn best practices for advancing technology education in Zimbabwe and Africa. This will also allow us to work directly in the development of Scratch as a critical educational tool for both educators and learners.”

Nxumalo concludes, “It is 21st-century digital skills that ensure the youth are able to compete on an international scale for technology careers and opportunities and feed into the global talent pipeline.”

Scratch is one of the world’s largest free online learning platforms designed to empower children, young adults and teachers with coding skills. The program allows young people to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. In 2021 alone, more than 200 million children interacted with Scratch. Click here to apply and stand a chance to be part of the SEC for the 2023 – 2025 Cohort. Deadline February 28, 2023!

Meet our AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 winners

Returning for the second year, the Africa Code Week AfriCAN Code Challenge presents their top 10 winners with Devansh and Darshika from Mauritius as the Pan-African competition winners!

 

An annual celebration of coding throughout Africa

The AfriCAN Code Challenge is a pan-African coding competition where youth aged 8 - 16 were tasked with coding a game using the Scratch programming language to address the theme that was determined by the Africa Code Week team. This competition was launched by SAP Africa Code Week and partners UNESCO, Irish Aid and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) in September 2020, and since then has become an annual celebration of youth and innovation in Africa.

The rationale for chosing this year’s superheroe theme was to allow children to unleash their creativity and express themselves freely on issues they feel are important to them. Davide Storti, Coordinator of the YouthMobile Initiative at UNESCO, says: “The post-pandemic education recovery starts with allowing our children to regain confidence and hope, and with us adults reopening spaces, although virtual, for them to access their fullest potential."

To take part in the AfriCAN Code Challenge, youth were able to enter alone or in teams of up to five people, and entries featured a three-minute YouTube video showcasing how their game works and why it should be considered a winning entry. The unique initiative and entry mechanism called upon the children’s ability to design a project that would solve a community-issue, code it, and communicate it.

 

The winners of the AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021

During the opening rounds of the challenge, participation reached across 40 countries and featured 102 project video clips, only the top three entries from 36 countries made it into the continental final, followed by 20 countries in the final judging stage.

Selected by a high-level jury comprising key Africa Code Week delegates and STEM education experts, the top three winners of the AfriCAN Code Challenge are:

The top 3

First place: Mauritius – Super Recyclers, by Devansh and Darshika
Second place: Nigeria – The Carbon Man, by SUPER GAMERS
Third place: Ethiopia – Kids Academy, by Natnael Kedir

 

Followed by:

4: Niger - Rayuwa
5: Sao Tome & Principe - Helper intrigue
6: Tunisia - Le toucher du bonheur
7: Capo Verde - Change the World with US
8: Morocco – Super hero
9: Seychelles - The Prodigies
10: Madagascar - Pensons civisme

 

The 2021 edition of the AfriCAN Code Challenge was quite unique, as for the first time, hearing-impaired students participated in the competition proving once again that coding is the language of inclusivity and creativity.

Irish Minister of State for overseas development aid and diaspora Colm Brophy T.D, who attended the Rwanda AfriCAN Code Challenge national awards ceremony says, “Africa Code Week unlocks the potential in young people who otherwise may not have considered building their digital skills”

Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Co-founder of Africa Code Week at SAP adds, “The  return of the AfriCAN Code Challenge was awaited by our incredible SAP volunteers who took part in the first line of jury. The presence of hearing-impaired students demonstrates the power of inclusivity that resides in digital literacy, in its capacity to build bridges and connect children of an entire continent, regardless of gender, age or ability.”

For more information about SAP Africa Code Week and the AfriCAN Code Challenge, visit www.africacodeweek.org

Ghana teachers embrace digital learning

Despite the dual challenges of low internet penetration and a switch to virtual teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers in Ghana have embraced the opportunity to learn 21st century digital teaching skills during this year’s Africa Code Week Train-the-Trainer campaign.

 

Ghana's population growth: a challenge and an opportunity

Ghana has a fast-growing population that more than doubled from 14.2 million people in 1989 to 28.8 million people in 2017. Nearly 39% of the population is under the age of 15, a demographic dividend that the Ghanaian government aims to harness through improved education opportunities for all its youth.

Speaking at the launch of last year’s Train-the-Trainer activities in Ghana, Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Yaw Adutwum, said: “Coding is not just a skill. It’s a different way of teaching and a different way of learning that puts the student at the centre of the learning process.”

More than 39 000 teachers in 37 countries were mobilised during the 2019 Africa Code Week. This year, with both a virtual and a hybrid format due to the impact of the pandemic, Africa Code Week is taking place in all African countries, including a month-long series of virtual coding sessions that took place across the continent from October until December.

 

Teachers embrace digital learning opportunity

Francis Ahene-Affoh, SVP at the DreamOval Foundation, says there was a high level of interest in the Train-the-Trainer sessions this year despite the challenging conditions of the pandemic.

“We had to switch to an all-virtual teaching model supported by SAP master trainers from around the world, as well as our network of local partners. Teachersfrom all regions in Ghana registered and participatedon the virtual training. Teachers from as far as Fumbisi in the Builsa south in the Upper East region of Ghana. This is an opportunity for an inclusive training, ensuring every teachers irrespective of location benefits from the coding training. This year’s training targeted 800 teachers. In 2020 alone over two weeks, we trained 1080 teachers from across the country."

A survey conducted by the DreamOval Foundation of participating teachers revealed many would choose to continue with online learning in future. “While the majority of participants at this year’s Train-the-Trainer sessions were from the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, this year’s virtual learning model also enabled teachers from every part of Ghana to participate,” says Ahene-Affoh. "We believe this indicates a need for virtual teaching to continue even when the pandemic subsides, as the travel to attend training sessions in person can be an obstacle to teachers' participation.”

Internet connectivity continues to be a challenge in Ghana, and few teachers have access to laptops. “Despite not having resources, more than half of teachers surveyed joined the sessions via their mobile phones. This level of commitment and passion for teaching and digital skills development is hugely encouraging as we work to prepare the country’s youth for participation in the digital economy,” says Ahene-Affoh.

 

Mobilising youth in continent-wide coding challenge

A recent addition to Africa Code Week activities is the AfriCanCode Challenge, a continent-wide coding challenge calling on youth aged 8 to 16 to compete in a competition. The competition was launched in September last year in partnership with SAP, UNESCO YouthMobile and Irish Aid.

According to Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, Africa Code Week’s 2019-2020 youth ambassador in Ghana, interest in the AfriCanCode Challenge has been high among Ghanaian youth. “Despite low levels of internet penetration in Ghana, young aspiring coders from across the country have taken up the challenge. Through teamwork, problem-solving and newly-developed coding skills, youth are putting forward their vision for what the future of education holds for the continent."

Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa, says:

“While the pandemic has upended the lives of learners and teachers across the continent and disrupted schooling, it has also created opportunities. The growing urgency to provide learning through digital channels is driving greater interest in digital skills among learners and teachers alike. Teaching young kids to code is a gift that will endure for decades to come. If we harness our most precious resource – our abundance of youthful talent – Africa will go from strength to strength in 2021 and beyond.”

 

AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 in Ghana

 

 

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