The UN has recognised Kenya as the first country in Africa to approve content for teaching computer programming lessons in primary and secondary schools.
In a report published on Wednesday, Unesco lauded the country for its support of the digital literacy under the new curriculum.
The report titled ‘Technology in Education: A Tool on Whose Terms?’ explores the impact of technology on education by surveying school systems globally.
“Kenya has become the first African country to incorporate coding as a subject in primary and secondary schools under the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC). The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has approved a coding skills curriculum developed by Kodris Africa for children aged seven to 16 in the Python programming language,” says the report.
Coding, also known as programming, is the process of giving instructions to a computer to perform specific tasks.
As technology advances, the demand for skilled tech professionals, such as software developers, web designers and data analysts is on the rise.
Learning to code opens up numerous career opportunities in various industries, from health care to finance and entertainment.
The US Labor Statistics reports that the number of jobs in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13 per cent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
The Unesco report states that a global review estimated that 43 per cent of students in high-income, 62 per cent in upper-middle-income, and five per cent in lower-middle-income countries, take computer science as compulsory in primary and/or secondary education.
This is not the case in low-income countries.
The report was released along with a #TechOnOurTerms campaign.
“It provides a compass for policymakers to use when making these decisions. Those in decision-making positions are asked to look down at where they are, to see if technology is appropriate for their context, and learning needs. They are asked to look back at those left behind, to make sure they are focusing on the marginalised,” says the report.
Given the low levels of digital skills in the global population and the ever-increasing complexity of the digital world, countries need to urgently define digital skills and decide how best to increase them among their citizens, the UN report says.