“A computer has a big empty head,” trainer Nuala Allen of SAP tells students, “It only does what you tell it to do.” She emphasizes, “You have the power!”
This week, a total of 744 students from five schools in Kigali participate in the Africa Code Week initiative, which aims to “empower future generations with the coding tools and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century workforce and become key actors of Africa’s economic development.”
According to organisers, coding is the literacy of the digital age; a new language for children to speak fluently and express themselves in this century.
From Monday through Friday, each 90-minute coding workshop takes 40 students, aged between 8 and 11, into two ICT Buses provided by RDB, introducing them to Scratch, a free programming language developed by MIT which helps users create their own interactive stories, games and animations.
This month, a group of trainers are traveling through 17 African countries (Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia and Uganda) to engage 20,000 kids and youth in the workshops.
Rwandan tech-hub kLab, which is facilitating the activities, believes the workshops will trigger the students’ curiosity and love for coding. “This is an important step in fostering interest and passion for computer programming,” Aphrodice Mutangana, Deputy General-Manager at kLab, told me.
Africa Code Week was founded and is organised by SAP, a German multinational software corporation, in partnership with Simplon.co, AMPION, the Galway Education Centre, the Cape Town Science Centre and the King Baudouin Foundation.
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