Learning to code is a basic literacy in the digital age, and it is important for kids to understand and be able to work with the technology around them. Learning to code prepares kids for the future. To understand and change our modern world, children need at least basic coding skills. As part of our objectives, we at the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana believe in the “early start”.
In this regard, we, in collaboration with Code for Afrika e.V., Germany, have started the “Coding Education in Ghana Project” to promote coding in Ghana. The idea of the project is to use established approaches to enhance computer science education in Ghana.
The project’s main goal is to build teachers’ and trainers’ capacity to support Ghana’s coding education. Our partner Code for Afrika e.V. is a non-profit diaspora organisation from Germany that promotes technological and entrepreneurial awareness among migrant communities in German and Africa.
Through this project, teachers will be introduced to the Code it! platform. The platform is developed by one of the partner start-ups of the Code for Afrika e.V., Code it Studios.
The “Code it!” learning platform will be used for the training; the platform was developed especially for teaching coding in schools. Children and beginners can learn to program easily and playfully on this platform. Code it! teaches basic programming concepts through online courses, live web seminars, and other child-friendly formats. The approach of Code it! is to put children’s interests at the center and convey programming through playful projects such as computer games, animations, or quizzes. To make it easier to get started with programming, it uses a visual programming language. The learning platform offers different approaches for teaching programming: self-learning courses, child-friendly programming editors, ready to use teaching materials, and more.
Another goal of the project is to customise the learning platform for the African context – an offline version will be developed considering the context familiar to its users. We intend to co-create a platform to contextualize the Ghanaian environment, coming in with utmost enthusiasm, and ease of use, application, and understanding. In this sense, making coding easier, adaptable, and applicable for the local user, and different from the traditional way of how coding is presented to young people. Kids in areas with no or limited internet will also have access to the platform to learn to code.
In the last 2 to 3 years, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana and its partners have been engaged in training children from age 6 through to adults the basics of coding. Currently, the organisation has trained well over 3000 kids across the country both in physical classrooms and virtual classrooms. The synergies between IIPGH and Code it Studios will bring classic customisation feel to the kids to learn from a contextual environment.
An essential goal of the project is the exchange of knowledge between the partner organisations. The aim is to train trainers on-site in Ghana who will conduct training workshops themselves in the future using Code it! and gather feedback from the participants on how to develop the platform further. Some of the participants will be IIPGH tutors as well as students, graduates, and other interested participants.
Inasmuch as we are concerned with developing young ones through coding skills, we are equally determined to get more female student participants and tutors involved. Until today the field of ICT is very much male-dominated. Concerns have been expressed for many years that there are relatively few women who have entered occupations in technology. Thus, efforts are being made to address this problem through this project. We are convinced that it is of central importance for our society’s future to significantly strengthen the proportion of women in this field. Increasing female/girls’ interest in technology education as a way to advance women in technology is our focus.
As part of the project, the trainers of IIPGH will be trained to conduct further training workshops in Ghana independently. For this purpose, members of IIPGH will be involved in preparing and implementing the training workshops.
The Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana over the period has been instrumental in training tutors and teaching all ages how to code. Generally, the organisation seeks to build capacity in emerging technologies. As a non-profit professional association made up of professional members in various Information and Communication Technology (ICT) practice domains, the organisation forms partnerships with other organisations to deliver training programs to both members and non-members of the Institute. Our seasoned ICT professionals have industry experience in Ghana and International ICT markets and can provide practical training in all domains of Information and Communications Technology.
The organisation aims at using its platform to equip professionals and students with skills in emerging technologies needed for entrepreneurship and employment in today’s fast-moving technological world. In addition, IIPGH uses the expertise at its disposal to advise the government and other stakeholders on best practices and public policies that would enable the use of ICT in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Institute is a connector of ICT professionals from Government MDAs, educational institutions, corporate organisations, start-ups, investors, and civil society organisations to create a vibrant ICT ecosystem.
IIPGH and Code for Afrika e.V. seek to win new partners and sponsors to promote and strengthen computer science education in Ghana/West Africa in a sustainable way.
Richard Kafui Amanfu – (Director of Operations, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)
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