Botswana’s Ministry of Basic Education Joins Forces with SAP to Scale Africa Code Week

Botswana is a country with a clear innovation agenda. Hot on the heels of the launch of the Botswana Innovation and Research, Science, and Technology and Innovation (RSTI) advisory in August, the country shifts focus to digital skills development amongst educators.

To celebrate the launch of the Ministry of Basic Education, SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) returned to Gaborone’s Bontleng Primary School this weekend with more fun-filled afternoons of coding training provided to 80 local teachers and 100 pupils in preparation for Africa Code Week 2017 (18-25 October 2017).

Identified by the Ministry in the South-East region, the group of 80 teachers were 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 materials they need to make coding literacy a daily reality on the classroom.

All participants received 90 minutes of training, a USB key with course notes and Scratch pre-loaded, together with a training certificate upon course completion.

On Saturday, celebrity cartoonist Jonas Lekganyane (a.k.a. Noko Mashaba) visited the school to inspire pupils through his famous cartoon series “The Adventures of Noko Mashaba” and the power of his own testimony.

“Everything is inspired by something or someone else in the first place: inspiration can be drawn from the past, present or even the future,” Lekganyane explains. “One can be inspired by their financial circumstances at home, another can be inspired by a complete stranger.

The trick is to understand that everyone is gifted differently, so everyone is able to think outside the box and explore fields of knowledge in a way nobody else has.

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 continues.

Over 500 teachers have been trained in Botswana over the past two years and the Ministry’s support is critical to scale the initiative’s impact nationwide in 2017.

“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.

Botswana is also where SAP skilled Volunteers trained the very first village chief into an ACW Coding Instructor last year: in July 2016, Kgosi Lewanika Mpatane learnt Scratch coding beside teachers and volunteers in Mathangwane to ensure that no child was left behind in his community.

“What is happening in Botswana is a shining example of the dynamics of empowerment in the digital era: ICT trained teachers, a joint eagerness to drive change, inspiring role models, active government support and collaboration like never before,” Gillissen-Duval concludes.

Spearheaded by SAP and actively supported by UNESCO, 15 African governments and over 100 public and private partners, Africa Code Week is on a mission to bridge Africa’s digital skills gap by introducing coding skills to 500,000 children and youth from 18 to 25 October

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