The Deputy Minister of Communications, Pinky Kekana, has introduced a coding programme for learners at Ntswane Secondary School in Hammanskraal.
Led by #AfricaCodeWeek, the initiative introduces coding and digital literacy to eight to 16-year-olds and raises awareness of the importance of digital and coding literacy in the 21st century.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not a buzz word: it is a reality. Coding provides a competitive advantage when applying to tertiary institutions, for internships and jobs. Our youth [must] understand the digital world developing around them,” said Kekana.
The visit to the school on Friday was part of a multi-pronged outreach programme, which included the Deputy Ministers of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, and Trade and Industry, Bulelani Magwanishe.
Ntswane Secondary was identified by community members and former pupils as a school that required substantial refurbishments to a number of its facilities. Following a collaborative effort between the private sector and government, a number of new facilities and refurbishments have taken place at the school.
Ndabeni-Abrahams revealed that her department will be partnering with the high school and Techno Girl, a programme that mentors young girls and provides them with opportunities to develop the skills required in the digital economy.
“From now on, we will ensure that young girls from a school like Ntswane are able to compete with the best in subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
Magwanishe further committed to ensure that Ntswane is fully equipped with Telematic Services, an education technology platform that integrates satellite, cell phone, internet and video conference technology to create a modern, virtual environment for learners.
The platform makes it possible for learners to communicate with other learners and educators during class via the internet or cell phone technology.
“We live in a digital society and knowledge can be transmitted in various forms. We need to expose our youth to all the best possible educational facilities to ensure they become competitive and highly skilled for our economy,” said Magwanishe.
Kekana said the outreach to Ntswane Secondary was the “effect of the Thuma Mina approach”.
“We came, we saw, we listened and we acted. Government, the private sector and not-for-profit organisations can transform the lives of all South Africans if they join hands and act.”