JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — SAP Africa today further bolstered its decade-long support of the FIRST Lego League (FLL) in Africa through a major sponsorship of the ‘Africa Open Championships’ which takes place from 5-7 May 2015 .
The event runs alongside the Africa Automation Fair, at the Dome, Northriding, Johannesburg. This initiative complements the SAP Skills for Africa initiative which seeks to create a pool of people who are engendered with SAP skills on the African continent. There are 11 South African teams and 35 international teams participating, including teams from Swaziland and Jordan.
In a world where technology is around us at all times, it is an educational imperative that children develop a love for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) from an early age. In the not too distant future, these children will be the engineers, teachers, and scientists in which the future is entrusted. Over the course of 40 years SAP, has identified various gaps which need to be filled in order to create sustainable careers. Often the gap is between the skills employers require and the skills held by potential employees, where students leave their tertiary education feeling fully equipped to take on the business world, yet many of their skills are either underdeveloped or too theoretical to be practical. In other cases the skills are of the ‘softer’ variety such as problem solving, time management, conflict resolution and effective communication. Through the evaluation of FIRST Lego League participants over the last 10 years reveal an increase in soft skills:
- 98% – improved problem solving skills
- 95% – increased time management skills
- 93% – increased conflict resolution skills
- Over 76% – strengthened communication skills
These figures indicate that, although children are learning crucial skills, they are largely unaware of the learning process – it is precisely this premise that has made FLL such a success in South Africa. The relationship between FLL and SAP Africa has spanned a decade and as such, the partnership is one grounded in mutual understanding and passion for educating the youth.
Through their extensive education network, SAP Africa is taking FLL to the rest of the continent. Nigeria was the first on the planned roll out schedule with Kenya and Zimbabwe to follow in 2016. The long-term aim of this roll-out, coupled with the various education initiatives, is to provide support to children with a penchant for STEM and develop those skills to become future SAP engineers.
Mehmood Khan, COO of SAP Africa, said: “Education is one of the major drivers to an economically sustainable country. Through nurturing a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) from an early age, the possibilities for the continent are endless. Over and above the immediate impact FLL has on the youth, these children will one day be the future leaders equipped with vital skills.”
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