image credit – Africa Code Week
SAP, the multinational Enterprise IT company has revealed that it will be providing digital skills training to youths in 30 countries across Africa including Zimbabwe.
This is part of its Africa Code Week initiative that is scheduled to run from the 15th to the 23rd of October 2016. During the course of that week, SAP will be offering free online training and coding workshops to children and youth who are between 8 and 24 years of age.
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Children between 8 and 17 years of age will be trained through Scratch, a learning platform which has been used by other early stage digital skills providers to teach the basics of programming.
This is the second edition of Africa Code Week which kicked off last year with a 17 country roll out. According to Africa Code Week, 2015’s 10-day programme introduced 89,000 children and youths to programming and digital skills.
This impact was achieved through the collaborative efforts of SAP, Ampion, Simplon.co, the Galway Education Centre, the Cape Town Science Centre and the King Baudouin Foundation. This year they intend to teach 150,000 children.
One strategy that has been used to enhance the effectiveness of the programme is the engagement of local partners in each participating country and opening up the exercise to stakeholders like schools and training centres.
All interested people and organisations can visit the website to sign up to be part of the programme. It remains to be seen, though, whether local enterprises and the government will also rally behind this initiative.
The huge skills shortage in IT which continues to grow as the world increasingly adopts digital solutions also affects Zimbabwe. However, the response locally to this reality has only been through limited cases of voluntary work and investment in the next generation’s appreciation of ICT.
It would be encouraging, though, if Zimbabweans took this issue a lot more seriously and threw their weight behind skills development programmes like Africa Code Week or better yet, developed their own.
Addressing the shortage of programmers in Zimbabwe in the digital age can’t be left to SAP and Muzinda Hub only. We all have to play our part.