Botswana: Minister Launches Africa Code Week

Maun — Ministry of Basic Education has taken a deliberate decision to mainstream Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) in teaching and learning, especially in this era of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Assistant Minister of Basic Education, Mr Thato Kwerepe said this during the launch of the Africa Code Week.

The event attracted 100 teachers from Ngamiland region, who came to acquire skills that would be instrumental in supporting curriculum delivery.

The trained teachers will conduct training for students across the country starting yesterday ending September 26.

Africa Code Week is the story of hundreds of schools, teachers, governments and non-profits organisations getting together to bridge the digital and gender skills gap in Africa.

The goal of the initiative is to empower every child with the opportunity to be competitive in the world economy of the future.

Mr Kwerepe said his ministry understood its responsibility of creating a welcoming environment for children to learn coding, so they might grow to become active participants in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

To that effect, he said the ministry had made a deliberate move to provide schools with educational technology resources and would continue to support the integration of ICT into teaching and learning.

He noted that equipping both the teacher and the learner had become a sine-qua-non in the quest for the production of a globally competitive human resource.

The assistant minister said the outcome based curriculum, which was about to start rolling out, demanded certain skills and competencies among teachers to fulfill that expectation, hence they found it necessary to start with teachers as the drivers of education.

"This is the opportune moment for you teachers to be up-skilled in the coding skills, so that you keep pace with the dictates of Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan as our blueprint (ETSSP)," he added.

Reading, writing and arithmetic skills, he said had dominated the cycles of basic education for a long time as people would go to school to learn those three basic skills.

Mr Kwerepe stated that back then, the product of the school system was an individual who could read, write and perform basic mathematical calculations, adding that the 21st Century had revealed yet another set of skills; coding, 'which are a set of skills that children now need to learn and master'.

He said code was the language of the modern world, noting that in the past coding was a skill reserved for computer technology experts, who develop software programmes, but today coding had been simplified and opened up to the general public.

Ordinary people, he said, could learn and start communicating in the language of code, adding that 'this modern language has become central to life.

It is a language that facilitates human interaction with machines'.

He pointed out that in today's modern world, many professions were affected by coding, citing anything from science to engineering, banking, healthcare, law, communications, education and even art.

The assistant minister said the world had entered the 4th Industrial Revolution, hence the increased dependence on technology.

Furthermore, Mr Kwerepe told sponsors of the Africa Code Week that the initiative also addressed the National ICT Policy and was also relevant to priority No. 10 of the ETSSP.

The initiative in Botswana, he said, would not only make use of online content, but would also be a key contributor to online content.

Batawana acting kgosi, Kgosi Kealetile Moremi appreciated the initiative, saying for their generation, they saw it defining the beginning of their end as leaders to be in control of the economy and basically shifting the economy from being resource based to being knowledge based, currently being preached by the country's leadership.

She appreciated that the initiative aimed to train youngsters and members of the community on coding for them to participate in the creation of applications and content, which forms a good basis for knowledge society and knowledge economy.

He challenged fellow traditional leaders not to be left behind, but rather learn what the 4th Industrial Revolution was all about.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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