Creating coding prodigies in previously disadvantaged schools

June 16, 2018 • Education, General, Southern Africa

Creating coding prodigies in previously disadvantaged schools

Girls coders from the Mikateka Primary School, Ivory Park

Learning to code is a critical element in the 21st century school curriculum, giving learners the ability not only to use technology but to create it, as the world ushers in the fourth industrial revolution. Learners equipped with these skills will be in high demand in the labour market of the future.

Non-profit educational organization, ORT South Africa (ORT SA) and Chevron South Africa have partnered up to implement coding programmes in previously disadvantaged schools in Ivory Park, north of Johannesburg. A total of 150 learners from six primary schools and six high schools participate in the extra mural coding classes. In each of the targeted schools, ORT SA facilitators is on hand to train teachers to assist the participants with their projects. After learning the basics of coding, learners start work on their own projects, based on developing programmes that find solutions to real-life problems. Each group of five learners is provided with a coding kit which is the ‘brain’ that they learn to programme in order to carry out various tasks such as operating a security system, a drone or a driverless bus.

“STEM subjects are at the heart of disruptive technology which is where the future of our economy lies. Equipping learners with the skills they will need for tomorrow’s job market is what makes this programme exciting and is the reason Chevron has chosen to partner with ORT SA,” says Jill Koopman, Policy, Government and Public Affairs Manager at Chevron South Africa.

Mpho Matlala, head of the ORT SA STEM Academy says, “Our goal is to reach as many pupils as possible with this critical skill-enhancing programme and we are delighted to welcome Chevron as a valued partner. The pupils will be presenting their projects at an event on 8th November 2018. From experience, we can expect the most ingenious projects!”


Edited by Daniëlle Kruger

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