SAP’s 6th edition of Africa Code Week (ACW) has officially kicked off and is being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. ACW is working closely with Ministries of Education across Africa with a view to promoting sustainable digital skills development capacity.
Meanwhile, on the sidelines, ACW is having the AfriCANCode Challenge; a youth coding competition for students aged between 8 to 16 from across the continent. Invited to compete individually or in teams, they are challenged to imagine the future of education with a ‘Scratch Game’ and 2-minute video explaining why their code should win. Fostering a wide range of essential skills from problem-solving and coding all the way to teamwork and communications. The challenge will see the top 3 winners from each participating country compete at the pan-African level. Final results will be announced later this year.
Notably, the ACW team has built an app; ACW App to facilitate learning and teaching beyond classroom walls. The app is a major development allowing students and teachers to access dedicated resources anytime, anywhere from their phones. The app is available download to Android users, and available in English, French, Portuguese and Arabic.
“Over the past five years, Africa Code Week has grown into a trusted repository of free and open-source resources that support both students and their teachers on their digital empowerment journey,” said Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Co-founder of Africa Code Week at SAP.
“With the growing access to mobile technology across the continent and the increasing prevalence of online learning, we believe the time is now to facilitate access to quality educational content with a mobile app,” Gillissen-Duval notes.
According to Albert Nsengiyumva, the Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa and official ACW Patron, there is need for a consolidated effort from the public and private sectors as well as civil society to close the digital gender gap.
“We need to jointly provide affordable access to digital tools and remove barriers to women and girls’ full participation in the digital economy. We are seeing great innovation in the use of technology driven by women. We have made a good start, but we now need a consolidated effort to ensure this progress can continue and sustain over time.”
In 2019, ACW empowered 3.85 million youth with basic coding skills, with female participation standing at 47%. In addition, more than 39,000 teachers were mobilized across the continent.
Cathy Smith, the Managing Director at SAP Africa, said: “Teaching young kids to code is a gift that will endure for decades to come. It is critically important that we take advantage of our most precious resource, our youth. If we harness this resource by empowering it with digital skills, Africa will go from strength in 2020 and beyond.”