Art and Culture

Experts Advocate Inclusion of Coding in Schools’ Curriculum

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Uchechukwu Nnaike

Ed-tech experts have urged policymakers in Nigeria to incorporate code learning in the school curriculum at primary and secondary levels for technological advancement and innovations.

This was part of the recommendations of the virtual roundtable for the July edition of Edtech Monday moderated by a social engineering practitioner, Joyce Daniel, which featured panellists such as the Chief Executive Officer, STEMi Africa, Amanda Obidike, founder, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence of Nigeria, Dr Olusola Ayoola and a seven-year-old pupil, Amanda Okocha.

Speaking at the roundtable with the theme ‘Coding for Learners in Africa’, Obidike said though coding was new in Nigeria, it had become imperative for coding to be included in the school curriculum because the future will be largely dictated by technology, automation and artificial intelligence. According to her, with rising digitalization and advance in technology, there is a need for every state in Nigeria to invest in coding.

While identifying data infrastructure as a major drawback that could hinder code learning in schools, she noted that the issue around infrastructure and interest in coding would be resolved with effective collaborations with tech-driven organisations and mentorship.

“A lot needs to be done in the area of teachers’ reformation. Not only that, code learning should be made more inclusive such that young girls can easily be connected with the resources and get the confidence they need. Statistics have shown that 30.5 per cent of young women in Africa are unemployed because of the STEM-related skills gap. But with the right mentoring and resources, the narrative would be changed,” she said.

On his part, Ayoola explained that coding was key to 21st-century learning and development, stating that any country that fails to introduce it to young learners may be hurting its future.

He stressed that beyond infrastructure, funding and knowledge gap between teachers and developers constitute serious stumbling blocks to incorporating coding in schools. He even urged the government to provide access to devices and invest in ICT rooms for schools in Nigeria.

He tasked stakeholders to be intentional about bringing coding to the grassroots, particularly the underserved communities.

Also speaking, Okocha, who started code learning at the age of five, explained that the impact of coding on her education was tremendous, disclosing that the wealth of knowledge garnered so far has helped her develop a solution to solve a particular problem.

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