· Switching to the fully virtual model allows teachers from 16 regions to participate in training of trainers sessions
· Survey reveals teachers want to continue virtual model even after pandemic ends
· AfriCanCode Challenge mobilizes youth enthusiasm for digital skills
ACCRA, Ghana, September 22, 2021 – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – Despite the twin challenges of low internet penetration and the shift to virtual education due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers in Ghana seized the opportunity to learn the 21st century of digital pedagogical skills during this year’s African Code Week training of trainers campaign.
Ghana has a rapidly growing population that has more than doubled from 14.2 million people in 1989 to 28.8 million people in 2017. Almost 39% of the population is under 15 years old, a demographic dividend that the Ghanaian government aims to harness through better educational opportunities for all its young people.
Speaking at the launch of last year’s training of trainers activities in Ghana, the Minister of Education, Hon. Dr Yaw Adutwum said, “Coding is not just a skill. It is a different way of teaching and a different way of learning that puts the student at the center of the learning process.
More than 39,000 teachers in 37 countries were mobilized during Africa Code Week 2019. This year, with a completely virtual format due to the impact of the pandemic, Africa Code Week is taking place in all African countries , including a month-long series of virtual coding sessions that took place across the continent from October through December.
Teachers take advantage of the digital learning opportunity
Francis Ahene-Affoh, senior vice president at the DreamOval Foundation, said there was great interest in training the trainers sessions this year despite the difficult conditions of the pandemic. “We had to move to a fully virtual education model supported by SAP master trainers around the world, as well as our network of local partners. Teachers from all parts of Ghana registered and participated in the virtual training. Teachers from as far away as Fumbisi in southern Builsa in the Upper East region of Ghana. This is an opportunity for inclusive training, ensuring that all teachers, regardless of their location, benefit from coding training. This year’s training targeted 800 teachers. In 2020 alone, over two weeks, we trained 1,080 teachers from across the country. “
A survey conducted by the DreamOval Foundation of participating teachers found that many would choose to continue online learning in the future. “While the majority of participants in this year’s training of trainers sessions were from the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, this year’s virtual learning model also enabled teachers from all regions of Ghana to participate.” , explains Ahene-Affoh. “We believe this indicates that there is a need for virtual education to continue even when the pandemic subsides, as travel to attend in-person training sessions can be a barrier to teacher participation.”
Internet connectivity continues to be a challenge in Ghana, and few teachers have access to laptops. “Despite the lack of resources, more than half of the teachers surveyed joined the sessions via their mobile phones. This level of commitment and passion for teaching and developing digital skills is extremely encouraging as we work to prepare the country’s youth to participate in the digital economy, ”said Ahene-Affoh.
Engaging young people in a continent-wide coding challenge
A recent addition to Africa Code Week activities is the AfriCanCode Challenge, a continent-wide coding challenge calling on young people aged 8-16 to compete. The competition was launched in September last year in partnership with SAP, UNESCO YouthMobile and Irish Aid.
According to Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, Youth Ambassador for Africa Code Week 2019-2020 in Ghana, interest in the AfriCanCode challenge has been high among young Ghanaians. “Despite low levels of internet penetration in Ghana, young, aspiring coders across the country have risen to the challenge. Through teamwork, problem solving and newly developed coding skills, young people present their vision of what the future of education has in store for the continent.
Cathy Smith, Managing Director of SAP Africa, says: “While the pandemic has changed the lives of learners and teachers across the continent and disrupted schooling, it has also created opportunities. The growing urgency to deliver learning through digital channels is driving greater interest in digital skills among learners and teachers. Teaching young children to code is a gift that will last for decades. If we tap into our most precious resource – our abundance of young talent – Africa will only grow stronger in 2021 and beyond. “
For more information on Africa Code Week, please visit www.africacodeweek.org
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of SAP Africa.
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