42,000 teachers to be trained as State rolls out coding curriculum

The KICD-approved curriculum will equip young people with sought-after skills. [iStockphoto]

The government will train 42,000 teachers in an ambitious move to introduce coding lessons across the country, President William Ruto has announced.

This initiative, aimed at mainstreaming the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) approved coding syllabus, seeks to equip a generation of students with the essential skills for thriving in the digital economy.

“Google, in collaboration with the ministries of Education, and ICT and Digital Economy, has begun implementing a Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development-approved coding programme in primary and secondary schools,” President Ruto said.

He added: “To reach 4 million learners, the partnership will train 42,000 teachers.”

The plan will unfold in phases and is a collaborative effort with tech giant Google, marking a significant advancement for Kenya’s education system.

With a global demand for skilled coders on the rise, the programme aims to position Kenya as a leader in digital education, creating a talent pipeline for the international tech market.

This collaboration harnesses Google’s expertise in computer science education and aligns with the government’s vision for a knowledge-based economy. The introduction of coding at a young age aims to nurture critical thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills, preparing students for a variety of jobs beyond the tech sector.

Coding, or programming, involves creating instructions for a computer to follow.

In Kenyan classrooms, learners will be taught the Python programming language.

This coding process enables computers to perform tasks such as calculations, displaying text, interacting with websites and communicating with other computers.

The partnership extends to graduates, with Google committing to creating a job pipeline and providing opportunities for remote digital gigs and global project contributions.

The programme is set to roll out gradually across the country, targeting up to 7,000 schools in the initial phase.

This initiative has the potential to transform individual lives and elevate Kenya, often referred to as the Silicon Savannah, to a prominent position in the global tech landscape.

The KICD made history as the first curriculum regulator in Africa to approve content for coding, following an application by online publishing firm Kodris Africa.

The content includes a coding studio, learners’ and teachers’ guides, support materials, an integration matrix and a teacher training manual.

Since approval, Kodris Africa has established partnerships with firms such as Safaricom, KCB Group, Cooperative Bank, Kenyatta University and Mount Kenya University, forming a formidable force to deliver the ambitious plan to revolutionize education.

Coding and algorithms empower children with 21st-century skills, fostering creative problem-solving and systematic thinking.

Educators emphasize that understanding the logic of algorithms helps students comprehend the importance of order in accomplishing tasks, transcending the confines of computer science to become essential in interdisciplinary interactions.

President Ruto said this administration has also taken deliberate steps to build and invest in the creative economy which will transform the delivery of public services and make them more efficient.

The President said by teaching learners problem-solving skills early, through coding, they are better prepared for the contemporary world job market.

Ruto said that early intervention on learners towards problem-solving through coding, will prepare them for a competitive job market.

‘‘This will ensure that the entire tech ecosystem becomes part of our curriculum from elementary school to university. We have to grow our technology that will be part of our journey from primary school,’’ Ruto said.

The statement comes barely two days after the President addressed the Youth Connekt Africa Summit where the Head of State said the global market is shifting towards technology-driven roles.

‘‘To this end, with the technology available to us today, it is very possible to build one African market. It is possible for an idea to rise in Nairobi, arrive in Lagos by Midday and Cape Town by sundown or vice versa,’’ he said.

Ruto pointed out that his government will sign into law the creation of hubs, which will enable youth training and connect to the international labour market.

‘‘I want to thank the National Parliament for changing the law this week, which I intend to sign into law next week so that we can create 1,450 digital hubs in every ward in the country,’’ said the President.

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