from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI – EDUCATION stakeholders in Kenya have affirmed their commitment to the early introduction of the coding curriculum in schools.
This is to help learners acquire technical skills relevant to a digital economy.
Technology is rapidly changing the landscape of the workforce with employers across the world increasingly seeking a digitally skilled labour force.
It is projected that by 2030, more than half of all jobs in Kenya will require some level of digital skills with the demand being primarily driven by enterprises adopting digital technologies.
The Kenya Association of International Schools (KAIS), in partnership with Education Technologies firm, Kodris Africa, and Kenya Commercial Bank have convened a digital skills symposium that brought together various stakeholders from the education and ICT sectors.
The event delved into the computing and coding curriculum and the importance of incorporating digital skills in primary and secondary schools. Also present were tech giants Microsoft, Google Safaricom and Liquid Telcom among others.
Jane Mwangi, KAIS Head of Secretariat, underscored the need to train learners on digital skills from the elementary level.
She mentioned developed countries like Singapore and Japan, where they have been teaching coding to their learners from the kindergarten level.
“As we have also done that as international schools, we are glad that public and private schools are finally catching up. We have no option but to make coding part of our lifestyle,” she said.
Speaking during the event attended by close to 100 primary and secondary schools, Jack Ngare, head of Google in Africa, said the only way Kenya and Africa are going to stay at par with developed nations is by introducing coding at the elementary level of schooling.
Catherine Muraga, Managing Director, Microsoft Africa Development Centre, said coding has become central to all career paths.
“The need to teach learners how to solve problems through coding has become a lot more important that we have to pay attention,” she said.
“It is as important as English or French in communication. We have to make sure our children are well equipped for efficiency and productivity,” Muraga said.
Coding involves translating instructions for a computer from human language to a language a machine/computer can understand.
Technologies on smartphones, ATM cards, mobile money, Internet banking, e-learning and telemedicine all run on codes.
Globally, employment in computer and IT occupations is projected to grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.
– CAJ News