Coding course an idea whose time has come

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Coding course an idea whose time has come


Lemuel Kinyanzwii, the founder of Smart Brains Kenya, showing one of the codings on a laptop that is taught to pupils in Nairobi’s inner city. PICTURES | BOWL

The announcement of Kenya’s adoption of a coding curriculum in basic education brought back memories of 2016 when I attended a student innovation boot camp by Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Kenya and Airtel Kenya. What I took away is how internet access and a digitized space provide students with endless innovative learning opportunities.

I am again excited because the program is a plus in creating a strong ICT foundation among learners and the overall development of the nation’s digital economy. It does this by changing the national age range in which Internet and computer penetration and use peaks.

We had late and skewed penetration with disparities in urban and rural areas and along gender dimensions. The 2018 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics National ICT Survey Report shows that computer use increased with age, peaking at ages 20-24, before gradually declining. The 30-34 age group leads in access to all ICT equipment.

Exposing children to coding from an early age will ultimately increase basic digital skills. A number of ICT innovations made by Kenyans and recognized worldwide have adapted well to global digital spaces despite the late penetration and use of computers.

It is not just the pride that Kenya takes in being the first country in Africa to set up a coding program, but the benefits that students will derive from it.

We live in a dispensation where the lack of digital skills prevents a large percentage of the population from fully benefiting from the opportunities of the ICT landscape – in terms of education, job creation and service delivery.

Often children are engrossed in cartoon programs or playing video games. How effective would it be to provide a platform for children to visualize themselves developing their own cartoons and games?

Coding also facilitates problem-solving, endurance, analytical, computational thinking, and problem-solving skills.

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