South Africa wants to improve coding education in public schools with Artificial Intelligence Institute
The South African government intends to improve the teaching of robotics and coding in public schools through the establishment of an artificial intelligence (AI) institute.
Speaking at the G20 Digital Economy Ministers Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, the country’s Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the AI Institute is being established through a partnership between the Department of Communications and Digital Technology and higher education institutions including the Johannesburg Business School at the University of Johannesburg and the Tshwane University of Technology.
“It is essential that we invest significantly in providing our young people with access to modern training, skills sets and formal education. To achieve this, our Department of Basic Education has introduced robotics and coding as school subjects in primary and secondary schools,” Minister Ntshaveni said.
The minister did not provide a timeline for the establishment of the institute.
The minister further added that the government’s focus on digital skills includes creating platforms to support and promote the creation of digital content by young people and small and medium enterprises, especially start-ups.
“In this regard, South Africa will launch an app store called DigiTech on September 13, 2022. We have engaged with our sister countries in Africa to ensure that content producers in the rest of Africa can have their applications listed on DigiTech. App Store,” she said.
The minister also announced that the government is extending email addresses to all state school learners/students and their parents as part of its basic e-learning program requirements.
In March, the South African Department of Education announcement that it will introduce coding and robotics into the nation’s curriculum for grades R-3 and grade 7 in 2023. Full-scale implementation for grades 4-6 and grade 8 is planned for 2024 and Grade 9 will follow in 2025.
Last month, the Kenyan government also announced that it was introducing coding as a subject in schools.