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Alliance brings coding, robotics to Soweto school

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 08 Mar 2024
The coding and robotics centre at Letsibogo Girls High School in Soweto.
The coding and robotics centre at Letsibogo Girls High School in Soweto.

A multi-stakeholder collaboration between the Department of Basic Education (DBE), MTN SA Foundation and Sifiso EdTech has resulted in the launch of a coding and robotics centre at Letsibogo Girls High School in Soweto.

The DBE is piloting a national coding and robotics programme, to ensure today’s learners are digitally literate and understand coding and robotics.

MTN SA Foundation GM Arthur Mukhuvha says staying abreast of the era of rapid digital change requires equipping learners for the future.

One way of ensuring this is through coding and robotics education becoming part of curricula designed to encourage children's problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, states Mukhuvha.

“Crucially for South Africa, these skills also help develop an entrepreneurial mindset in upcoming generations, so that a culture of innovation becomes embedded in the national outlook and helps to drive economic growth and technical advancement.”

At Letsibogo Girls High School, the coding and robotics centre will utilise 66 robotics kits, 10 laptops and a router to teach nine classes. A set of competition kits will simultaneously be available for extramural activities and future competitions.

All teachers involved with the Letsibogo project have already undergone five days of immersive, in-person training, to equip them with the skills needed to deliver the coding and robotics curriculum.

All teacher-training, which includes 12 months of ongoing online support, is supplied by MTN SA Foundation partner Sifiso EdTech.

“Working together with Sifiso EdTech, which has been assisting the DBE with the rollout of its pilot programme across the country, we have become a proud part of this pioneering private-public partnership,” comments Mukhuvha.

“Involvement is broad and includes the DBE, provincial education departments and Sifiso EdTech in introducing what could be a major stepping stone in bringing SA’s education landscape on par with global markets.”

Sizwe Nxasana, CEO of Sifiso EdTech, notes: “In our rapidly-evolving tech-centric work environment, it’s crucial that students emerge from school with essential digital skills for the workforce. Digital literacy is now a cornerstone in all sectors.

“Our partnership with private sector leaders like MTN underscores our commitment to nurturing these skills from a young age, preparing the future workforce to thrive in the digital age, drive economic growth and foster innovation.”

In addition to the coding and robotics resources, the Letsibogo centre offers learning and teaching support material, such as lesson plans, teacher workbooks, coding software, and assessment guidelines and textbooks.

“By democratising access to the essential technological tools of tomorrow, we are empowering individuals and communities, and fostering a more inclusive society by broadening the talent pool available to South Africa,” says Mukhuvha.