The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications in partnership with the Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana, (IIPGH), is advocating sustained coding education for children cross the country.
The call was made on the sidelines of the final workshop of the Institute’s Coding Caravan initiative in Tsiame in the Volta Region of Ghana.
The workshops, which started in Apam in the Central Region on the 13th of July, 2022, moved to Nsawam in the Eastern Region on the 20th of July, 2022 before wrapping up in Tsiame in the Volta Region on July 27, 2022.
They formed part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Chamber, which planned and budgeted to train some basic school kids in coding.
The workshops under the Coding Caravan Program ensured that many more children and teachers, from across the country, especially those in deprived and hard-to-reach communities, got introduced to coding.
In all over 600 students and 90 teachers were taken through the foundational concepts of coding using specialized software programs (particularly Scratch and CodeIt!) as well the revolutionary world of 3D printing.
In an interview with the media on the sidelines of the final league of the workshops in Tsiame, the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ing. Dr. Kenneth Ashigbey, called for a concerted effort from all stakeholders to ensure programs like the Coding Caravan are supported to help develop human resource that can use ICT to solve the numerous challenges confronting us.
“Teaching ICT for our children in a manner that requires them to memorize concepts doesn’t help. The way to be able to teach our children ICT and specifically coding is this form of practical hands-on experiential teaching. If you consider the fact that we left the regional capitals and went to these places, and still got a high level of appreciation from the kids and teachers, it tells you we have so much potential that is untapped.”
“It is therefore important that public and private sector including civil society and other stakeholders come together to ensure sustained support for ICT education for our kids,” he added.
On his part the CEO of the IIPGH, David Gowu called for increased training for teachers to ensure the kids get the quality instruction going forward.
“One of the things we need to do is to train our teachers, by giving them the tools and training for them to be able to train the students effectively. The Caravan is good, and is a powerful tool to create awareness, but to sustain the awareness we must put the tools into the hands of our teachers to teach the children which could lead to the creation of transformative apps and programs down the road for use in Ghana and beyond.”
The Coding Caravan also offered the opportunity for teams of the Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) to organize SIM Registration and any other customer activations in the communities visited.
Coding for Kids program
In 2018, the Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, IIPGH introduced its Coding Program for Kids with the vision of revolutionizing the teaching, learning and application of technology in Ghana. Fortunately, the Institute received the buy-in of some German organizations, particularly Code for Africa, Code-It! and Tinkertoys who supported the establishment of the Digital Design and Creative Coding Hub.
The hub is equipped with ultramodern, state-of-the-art laptops, smartboards and 3-D printers. In the last four years, the Institute has trained over 10,000 young people in coding using a blended teaching and learning approach (in-person and online).
In order to promote and sustain the coding program in schools, IIPGH has entered into an agreement with more than a dozen schools including Englebert School (Airport Residential Area), International Community School (East Legon), Alpha Beta School (Dansoman), Jack & Jill School (Roman Ridge), Angel Specialist School (Tema), Oasis International School (GREDA Estate), Shield International School (Adenta), Redwood Universal (Dzorwulu), West Hill School (New Bortianor) where the Institute has introduced coding as an extra-curricular activity.