Botswana Code Week Torchbearer

Maun — Botswana has been hailed for leading the way in ensuring the success of Africa Code Week.

Speaking at the fifth anniversary of the week in Maun Saturday, Mr Olajide Ajayi of Systems Applications and Product said the country had shown that bridging the digital and gender divide could only be addressed by powerful ecosystem of like-minded partners, public, private and non-profit organisations.

Botswana, he said, also ensured that focusing efforts on capacity building was key to driving long term impact.

Mr Ajayi revealed that the agreement of the Ministry of Basic Education, Department of Information Technology and media services to openly support the initiative was a powerful call to action for teachers to upskill themselves and also for the ministry to build their ICT teaching capacity.

He expressed appreciation for the 2019 wave of train-the-trainer sessions which started in Botswana on September 2 with over 800 teachers expected to be trained across the country.

"This has proved that the train-the-trainer model is bearing fruit all over the continent and helping ministries of education to bridge the digital skills gap, one classroom at a time," he said.

Seeing various communities embracing the programme, Mr Ajayi said, was an indication that something truly sustainable and life changing for Africa' youth was being built.

Preparing teachers and students was a must for the fourth industrial revolution, he said.

Mr Ajayi revealed that even though the programme was hugely successful, there was still a long way to go before coding became an integral part of school curricula in every country and before every boy and girl had access to quality education.

He said that was only achievable through partnerships.

The initiative was enjoying unprecedented collaboration from public, private and non-profit partners adding that through partnership they would be able to address infrastructural issues impeding quality education for all across Africa.

Debswana was welcomed as the latest partner in the initiative which had trained 50 000 teachers and 4.1 million youth introduced to coding skills

"We are thrilled to announce that another major partner, Debswana has come on board and it will support the initiative in areas of Jwaneng and Orapa," he said.

Other Botswana partners he acknowledged the Clicking Generation, Women in Machine Leading, Techno Kids saying their commitment, local knowledge and enthusiasm had ensured the success of the week.

The United States Embassy was also acknowledged for supporting the initiative in Botswana.

Mr Ajayi noted that they were looking forward to work with the embassy to ensure that Africa's upcoming demographic bulge paid dividends.

Africa, he said, would be a continent in which the youth would be educated to take up sustainable jobs created in societies thereby bringing more young Africans into the digital fold.

US ambassador to Botswana, Mr Craig Cloud said education of young people was critical as they were the drivers of the economy.

He expressed appreciation for efforts by teachers and some Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) alumni in imparting knowledge and information to youngsters and in driving the initiative.

The aim of the initiative, was to teach them life skills and take away intimidation of coding so that they could make a living and drive Botswana towards a knowledge based economy.

"It is a great thing to introduce youngsters to coding," he added.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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