Botswana Shifts Focus to Digital Skills Development

The government of Botswana and SAP have partnered to empower pupils and teachers nationwide in preparation for Africa Code Week (ACW) 2017, scheduled for October.

This past weekend, SAP ACW returned to Gaborone’s Bontleng Primary School to provide coding training to 80 local teachers and 100 pupils.

Identified by the Ministry of Basic Education in the South-East region, the group of teachers was successfully introduced to Scratch, a free programming language designed by the MIT Media Lab to teach coding to the young generation in a fun and interactive way.

Supported by local implementing partner, Ngwana Enterprises, SAP Master Instructors joined the workshops from abroad to equip teachers with the Scratch teaching material they need to make coding literacy a daily reality on the classroom.

On Saturday, celebrity cartoonist Jonas Lekganyane (also known as Noko Mashaba), visited the school to inspire pupils through his famous cartoon series.

“I am extremely grateful to be able to take part in this initiative and inspire children to hone the digital skills they need to make their dreams come true in the 21st century,” Lekganyane said.

Over 500 teachers have been trained in Botswana over the past two years.

Botswana is also where SAP skilled Volunteers trained the first village chief into an ACW Coding Instructor last year.

Kgosi Lewanika Mpatane learnt Scratch coding beside teachers and volunteers in Mathangwane to ensure that no child was left behind in his community.

Botswana has a clear innovation agenda.

The ACW pre-event followed the launch of the Botswana Innovation Hub and Research, Science, and Technology and Innovation (RSTI) advisory committee.
“What is happening in Botswana is a shining example of how renewed public-private partnerships are scaling the impact of digital literacy interventions across an entire nation,” said Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Africa Code Week Global Lead.

Spearheaded by SAP and actively supported by UNESCO YouthMobile, Cape Town Science, Galway Education Centre, Google, 15 African governments and over 100 public and private partners, ACW aims to bridge Africa’s digital skills gap by introducing coding skills to 500 000 children and youth from October 18 to 25.

While 8 to 17 year-olds learn how to programme their own animations, quizzes and games using Scratch, older learners (18 to 24) are introduced to web technologies (HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and SQL) and architecture.