Kenya Introduces Coding in Schools, Creating Pipeline to Global Jobs Market

President William Ruto during the 2023 Youth Connekt Africa Summit at KICC, Nairobi.[PCS}

 

The Government will train 42,000 teachers on delivering KICD-approved coding lessons in an ambitious move to introduce computer programming lessons across the country, President William Ruto announced.

This initiative, aimed at mainstreaming KICD-approved coding lessons in primary and secondary schools, 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 stated. "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.

President Ruto made this announcement during Jamhuri Day celebrations, emphasizing the government's commitment to fostering innovation and preparing young Kenyans for the future.

With a global demand for skilled coders on the rise, the program 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 Kenyan 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 program is set to roll out gradually across the country, targeting up to 7,000 schools in the initial phase. This ambitious initiative positions Kenya to reshape its education system, empowering a generation to actively participate in the digital economy. The program's focus on coding and global employment opportunities has the potential to transform individual lives and elevate Kenya to a prominent position in the global tech landscape, often referred to as the Silicon Savannah.

The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development made history as the first curriculum regulator in Africa to formally 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 in Kenya and Africa through equipping learners with skills demanded by the present and future jobs market.

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.

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