Is coding a universal language that can bridge not only the gender and income gaps but enable also inclusive access to 21st century education? For the passionate team of Africa Code Week ambassadors in Mozambique, the answer is a resounding yes. “Coding is a language that everyone can – and should – speak in order to be active participants in the global digital economy,” says Sonia Santos, local coordinator for Africa Code Week. “With the support of our public and private sector partners, Africa Code Week is delivering on its vision of a 21st century inclusive education by reaching Mozambique’s hearing-impaired community for the first time.”
With more than 1.8 million young Africans already introduced to coding skills over the past three years, Africa Code Week has made a lasting contribution to the continent, enabling free access to thousands of digital skills development workshops while building teaching capacity in ICT education through the training of over 28,000 teachers and community members so far.
Africa Code Week’s coding workshops for hearing-impaired children in Mozambique are part of SAP’s broader commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 4, which aims to ensure quality and inclusive education for all. The programme also gives credence to SDG goal 17 through sustainable partnerships with its Africa -wide partnership network. According to Santos, the response to their first foray into providing inclusive coding workshops for local deaf communities was overwhelmingly positive. “Earlier in October, we held hugely successful Master Trainer sessions in Maputo where 24 teachers from several special needs local schools were trained in coding skills. These teachers then led the coding workshops with support from volunteers in Maputo, where a total of 105 hearing-impaired students participated over two days.”
Mozambique has an estimated 305 000 deaf people. However, due to a lack of adequate support structures and on-going stigma, many are unable to access formal education or work opportunities. “Mozambique only has three schools dedicated to teaching deaf children, which leaves most of the community without exposure to digital skills development opportunities. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace, those without such skills are at risk of being left behind. It is our goal to empower Africa’s youth with the skills they need to thrive in the global digital economy in an inclusive and sustainable manner,” Santos continues.
A private sector partnership with Mapal, a German industrial manufacturing firm, resulted in a sponsorship of the Train-the-Trainer session that was held at the Institute of Vocational Training in Vilankulo. “With the generous support of our private sector partners, we trained 20 teachers who in turn inspired 200 youth as part of this year’s ACW.”
Partnership with government extends ACW reach
She adds that government support for this year’s Africa Code Week activities has been hugely encouraging. “We have partnered with the Ministry of Science and Technology, Higher and Vocational Professional Education that has delegations (CPRDs) in each of our provinces with access to computers in regions where many children had never touched or worked on a PC before. With the support of the National Institute of Electronical Governance, we have also trained 345 teachers as part of this year’s Train-the-Trainer activities, focusing on parts of the country where digital literacy is lagging.”
According to Sunil Geness, Project Lead for Africa Code Week at SAP Africa, the in-country support and participation of government and NGOs is one of the cornerstones of Africa Code Week’s sustainable impact across the continent. “In addition to the support from key partners UNESCO YouthMobile, Google and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Africa Code Week is actively driven by more than 15 African governments and in excess of 150 partner organisations across 36 countries. We believe this shared-value approach holds the key to achieving our vision of building community capacity in ICT education across the continent and equipping youth with the skills and abilities that will drive their – and Africa’s – success in the 21st century.”