FACT: Africa is the youngest population in the world; it comprises of more than 103 billion people and has the opportunity to be the fastest growing digital consumer market on the planet.
The digital economy is here but companies are struggling to fill positions with employees who possess the right digital skills. Earlier last year, The African Economic Outlook reported that in the youth labour markets of 36 African countries, there was a 54 percent mismatch between the job seekers’ skills and actual employers’ requirements. Knowing that by 2020, 80% of all jobs will be Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) related, bold approaches are required to bring coherence and scale to digital literacy interventions across Africa. This is what brought global software giant SAP to partner with the Cape Town Science Centre, the Galway Education Centre, UNESCO Youth Mobile, Google and a fast-growing network of over 100 private and public partners to launch SAP Africa Code Week (ACW).
Taking place from 18 to 25 October 2017 under the High Patronage of H.E. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius, SAP ACW returns to the continent this year with a goal to empower half a million young Africans with the software coding skills they need to thrive in today’s digital age. Governments, schools, teachers, community centres, code clubs, businesses and non-profits: everyone is responding to the call to tackle youth unemployment and digital divide at the root through what Nelson Mandela used to describe as “the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world”: education.
More than 1,500 teachers have been trained to date as part of the Train-the-Trainer sessions rolled out by SAP across most participating countries in the run up to October events. You can also play your part, and here is how:
1. Attend a Live Workshop
Taking place at schools, universities, science centers or community centers, ACW’s free coding workshops address specific age groups regardless of learner levels. Get yourself up to speed with fun learning tools and passionate teachers! Visit the ACW Map (http://africacodeweek.org/activities/live-events/) to locate a workshop near you.
2. Attend an Online Course
If you are between 12 and 17 years old and would like to learn computer programming, openSAP (http://open.sap.com/courses/acw2-2) is the place to start. Starting September 26, this free online course will teach you how to create your own animations and games using the famous Scratch interface, a free programming language designed by the MIT Media Lab to simplify the face of coding for the young generation.
3. Host a Coding Workshop for Young People in Your Community
Support the planning and execution of workshops in your own venue. You can visit the Africa Code Week website to download your full partner guide.
Google wants all students to have the opportunity to learn and get excited about computer science (CS). To spread the excitement about Africa Code Week (18-25 October 2017), Google has funded the Cape Town Science Centre to offer small grants ($1,000 USD) to organizations and grassroots groups who want to run initiatives to give more kids (aged 5-18), especially those who may not have access to many CS learning opportunities, a chance to engage with computer science. You can apply for a Google Micro Grant here (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc1bn21uJM3u1hQfVmSuGBjC88ySYcNcDVFvG9onBhlLIsfvA/viewform).
4. Become a Coding Instructor
Start teaching basic coding skills to young pupils in an interactive and playful way. Starting September 26, the free openSAP (http://open.sap.com/courses/acw1-3) MOOC called ‘Teaching Programming to Young Learners’ was designed for parents, teachers and guardians of 8-11 years who are eager to teach coding to the young generation. Kick-starting your coding journey with the right tools, at the right pace, this free online course will also provide you with a Certificate of Training after you pass the final exam.
5. Become a Corporate Sponsor
Large-scale initiatives like ACW rely on a global network of likeminded companies. By becoming a sponsor, your organization will be able to engage customers, partners and employees as skilled volunteers as part of its own series of ACW coding workshops – expanding the scope to more African countries if need be. You can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to request the ACW sponsorship package.
“There is so much corporations, nonprofits and governments can do to empower youth in the digital age, so many ways to partner and scale the collective expertise in the shared value model; the revolution is in motion, and this is just the beginning!” says Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Africa Code Week Global Lead. “Look at Africa Code Week and you will see a fast-growing family of bold visionaries, committed doers and passionate teachers – all utterly convinced that the young generation is holding unprecedented keys, not just to their future, but also to the world’s future,” she concludes.
Feeling inspired? Join SAP on their Africa Code Week mission and get involved by visiting www.africacodeweek.org. For more information, visit the SAP News Center or openSAP. Follow SAP on Twitter @sapafrica.