Girls taught about coding

2019-07-17 06:01
Maemba Angoma, cluster specialist at Vodacom, conducted training on coding for female learners.Photo: Supplied

Maemba Angoma, cluster specialist at Vodacom, conducted training on coding for female learners.Photo: Supplied

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Learning the language of coding is key in preparing young people for a digital future.

The Free State Department of Education has partnered with Vodacom Central Region in an initiative to offer 121 female learners digital training on how to code.

The programme formed part of the winter school holidays and was conducted from 24 June to 5 July.

This digital skills training programme for young women is envisaged to help to narrow the digital gender divide at an early age in South Africa.

Coding is a method of solving problems, sequential thinking, stimulating, crea­ting and designing.

The learners were exposed to basic knowledge of computer languages and development programmes including HTML, CSS, GitHub and Version Control, Bootstrap and JavaScript, as part of their introduction to coding.

According to Mamello Selamolela, Vodacom regional managing executive, the girls’ programme aims to develop coding skills and valuable life skills for girls aged from 14 to 18 years.

“It encourages them to consider taking up subjects in information and communication technology (ICT).

“It provides influential mentors for the girls to inspire them to be passionate about technology and its possibilities,” she said.

The programme is run in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lesotho with over 755 young girls to be trained in 2019.

According to Selamolela, participation by females is still too low in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

She said, according to a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), “Cracking the Code: Girls’ and Women’s Education in STEM”, only 35% of students in higher education globally are women.

Indication is that only 3% of female students in higher education choose ICT stu­dies.

Selamolela said the situation is dire in South Africa.

“A few years ago, the Engineering Council of South Africa put the total number of women engineers registered with the body at 11%.

“In the United States, women make up around a quarter in science technology, engineering and mathematics occupations.

“The world is increasingly relying on technology. By giving young girls the skills and access to the know­ledge required to integrate into the digital era, we will enable them to fully benefit from the opportunities that will come from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

We will enable them to fully benefit from the opportunities that will come from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. – Mamello Selamolela, Vodacom

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