SAP Africa Code Week celebrates successful 2020 after the shift to an all-virtual format

  • Sixth edition of digital skills initiative closes after the switch to an all-virtual format extends the program to the continent
  • Creativity and resilience of partners enable teachers and youth to engage in digital learning in areas previously inaccessible
  • AfriCANCode Challenge calls hundreds of youth to reimagine the future of education
Photo: SAP

RABAT, Morocco - December 25th, 2020 - Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that left an estimated 250 million primary and secondary school learners across Africa not attending school, the all-virtual 2020 SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) has celebrated a successful year with students and teachers engaged in coding and digital skills learning across Africa.

In his opening remarks at the closing ceremony, Albert Nsengiyumva, Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and official Patron of the initiative, commended partners for the numerous developments brought in by this sixth edition 2020 to reach more youth across the continent. “The ADEA commits to supporting SAP, UNESCO and partners in their strategic efforts to facilitate the integration of coding into school curricula. We look forward   to inviting colleagues from SAP to present the Africa Code Week success model during the 2021 High-Level Policy Dialogue Forum (HLPDF) on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (TVSD) and the Future of Work.”

Digital skills integrated into school curricula: the Moroccan model

Youssef Belqasmi, Secretary-General of the Ministry of National Education in Morocco, shed further light on the Moroccan example, explaining how Africa Code Week became the framework for digital skills learning via Scratch in all Moroccan schools. Since 2015, the initiative has empowered more than 30,000 of our teachers to instil coding and computational thinking in their classrooms and engaged more than six million youth, girls making up half our participants. In addition to teaching essential digital skills, the program advances gender equality and special education, giving birth to a whole generation of future coders.”

Preliminary results indicate more than 1.5 million youth were engaged and 10,000 teachers mobilized in Morocco as part of this year’s ACW. Hicham Iraqi Houssaini, Managing Director of SAP Francophone Africa, noted the exceptional work done by the Moroccan Ministry at making digital skills a core part of the school curriculum. “Driven by Minister Amzazi’s vision and successfully rolled out by the GENIE program team, Morocco provides a best practice for improving access and quality of education on a nationwide scale. The model fully recognizes the importance of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) championed by Africa Code Week and leverages the program to scale teacher training across regions and unleash a passion for coding among young people."

Pandemic accelerated digital transformation of education

In light of the pandemic and the safety measures in place worldwide, ACW switched to a virtual model this year to ensure the continent’s 700 million youth could gain the essential digital skills they need to perform in the digital economy. With the support of UNESCO, ADEA, and Irish Aid, the new virtual model allowed the entire continent to participate, a first for the program. 

With two-thirds of the African population expected to use a smartphone by 2025, the ACW App was introduced this year as an innovation to extend learning and teaching beyond the classroom. All learning materials were made available in English, French, Portuguese, and now Arabic thanks to the volunteer work of Moroccan teachers commended by Mr. Belqasmi: “We deeply appreciate their efforts and we are certain they will have a great impact on young students in Africa, the Middle East and beyond for years to come."

Iraqi Houssaini adds that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an accelerator pushing all society stakeholders to take ownership of digital transformation in the education sector. “The UN Sustainable Development Goal 17 could not be clearer: we need to renew our efforts at building partnerships to strengthen teaching capacity across the continent. While it certainly presented its challenges, the pandemic has also been a catalyst for positive innovation, supported by all the public, private and civil society partners that have helped make ACW the leading digital skills initiative on the continent.”

Karim Sy, Founder of Jokkolabs and Board Member of Digital Africa discussed the need and ways to reach remote communities: “We cannot turn a blind eye to the challenges of connectivity and access in rural areas, which account for 70% of the population. Digital tools are a way, and so is teaching computational thinking. By making the latter a core pillar of its curriculum beyond actual coding, Africa Code Week takes young people on a critical thinking journey that teaches them how to break down and solve complex problems. More than ever, we need that capacity to face the world challenges”

Competition mobilizes coders across the continent

A new introduction to this year’s program is the AfriCANCode Challenge, a continent-wide coding competition for students aged 8 to 16. Students from 40 countries across Africa participated, with entries showcasing how youth imagine the future of education. Participants applied a range of skills, including coding, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication to develop a game using the MIT Scratch programming language. Three finalists were selected from each participating country, who will now be competing in the continent finals. 

Launched by SAP CSR EMEA[1] and UNESCO YouthMobile in 2015, the initiative brings together more than 130 public, private and civil society partners to multiply free coding workshops for youth, reinforce local teaching capacity through dedicated Train-the-Trainer workshops, increase women’s and girls’ participation, include youth with special needs and encourage the adoption of coding into school curricula for sustained impact on youth.

For more information about Africa Code Week, please visit www.africacodeweek.org

 

 


 

About Africa Code Week

Since 2015, SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) has been creating free opportunities for young Africans to learn coding skills and for teachers to be trained on digital learning curricula. Strong partnerships with the public, private and civil society sectors across the continent are driving sustainable impact by building teaching capacity and supporting the adoption of coding into national curricula in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5, and 17.

In 2019 alone, the initiative saw 3.85M children participating in coding workshops and 39,000 teachers mobilized across 37 countries. Since 2019, the Women Empowerment Workshop has also gathered 100+ female teachers from across the continent who connect and exchange on best teaching practices to empower every African girl with 21stcentury skills. Join SAP and partners by visiting www.africacodeweek.org to find out more.

About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

 


 

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[1] The SAP Corporate Social Responsibility department for Europe, Middle East and Africa is led by Claire Gillissen-Duval.