Parents have been encouraged to introduce their children to computer-assisted coding systems at an early age.
This according to experts will make them problem solvers given the emerging technological era.
Panellists on EdTech Monday on Citi FM on July 25, 2022, said it is high time school children are exposed to technologies that equip their problem-solving, creativity and critical thinking skills, adding that coding is the game changer.
“At a young age, the children are curious, that is why we want to introduce them at that stage because they are able to learn. Kids naturally have the skills. Coding is the future because there is an element in technology that can be reused to change things,” said Florence Tofa, Founder of Mobile Web Ghana.
“Coding is the primary method for communicating with a computer to achieve a goal. It is another form of literacy, akin to a language of numbers, but for computers.”
For Ernestina Edem Appiah, Founder of Ghana Code Club; “Coding will help children to become problem solvers. So we need to help them get an understanding of how all these technologies are used. For us in Africa, we have a vibrant youth, so adapting coding as a basic skill will enable a paradigm shift from tech consumers to tech creators.”
Contributing to the discussions, the Founder of Soronko Academy, Regina Honu emphasized that, in today’s digital age, coding is one of the pivots by which the development of the cognitive skills of children revolve stating that, “for young people, they need to see others who have been able to make it.”
“Coding will help children to become problem solvers. So we need to help them get the understanding of how all these technologies are used”, Ernestina Edem Appiah added.
The discussants also stressed the need for government to focus its attention on the development of coding skills in Ghana’s education system.
For them, efforts must be geared towards integrating coding in the school curriculum through increasing access and the setting up of the right infrastructure to improve the learning outcomes.
“Government must really be intentional in also introducing digital skills because that is the next key to the world of work. So I am hoping that government will look at developing the infrastructure, building up infrastructure and opening up opportunities and the enabling environment, and we are able to thrive”, says Regina Honu.
One more focal point for panellists was the equipping of teachers in schools to advance the teaching of the digital tools
“We need to build capacity for most people, including the teachers as well as the schools. Coding is a new thing, so it now needs to be integrated into the curriculum because it is something that is picking up, so there needs to be more capacity building. Coding should be made free, so everyone can have an experience,” Florence Tofa suggested.
EdTech Mondays is an initiative of the Mastercard Foundation’s Regional Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT and part of the Foundation’s strategy to find solutions to Africa’s youth employment by closing the gap in access to quality education, and advancing the integration of technology in education policies and practices across Africa.
To realize this vision in Ghana, the Mastercard Foundation has partnered with MEST Africa, a pan-African technology institution to bring EdTech Monday, on the last Monday of every month.
MEST offers Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training, internal seed funding, and a network of hubs providing incubation for technology startups in Africa.
Founded in Ghana in 2008, MEST provides critical skills training, funding, and support in software development, business, and communications to Africa’s tech entrepreneurs. Hubs are located in Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; Cape Town, South Africa; and Nairobi, Kenya.
To date, MEST has trained over 500 entrepreneurs from across the continent and invested in over 80 startups across industries from SaaS and consumer internet, to eCommerce, Digital Media, Agritech, Fintech and Healthcare IT.
MEST is primarily funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and Outside Insight.