ORT South Africa (ORT SA) and Chevron South Africa have joined forces to roll out a coding training program in previously disadvantaged schools, beginning with Ivory Park, a settlement next to Tembisa, north of Johannesburg.
A total of 150 learners from six primary schools and six high schools will participate in the extra mural coding classes. In each of the targeted schools, ORT SA facilitators will be on hand to train teachers to assist the participants with their projects.
The training comes with a practical emphasis. After learning the basics of coding, learners will start work on their own projects, based on developing programmes that find solutions to real-life problems. Each group of five learners will be provided with a coding kit which is the ‘brain’ that they learn to programme to carry out various tasks such as operating a security system, a drone or a driverless bus.
The initiators say learning to code is a critical element in the 21st century school curriculum, giving learners the ability not only to use technology but to create it, as the world ushers in the fourth industrial revolution. Learners equipped with these skills will be in high demand in the labour market of the future.
Mpho Matlala, head of the ORT SA STEM Academy says, “Our goal is to reach as many pupils as possible with this critical skill-enhancing programme and we are delighted to welcome Chevron as a valued partner. The pupils will be presenting their projects at an event on 8th November 2018. From experience, we can expect the most ingenious projects!”
Jill Koopman, Policy, Government and Public Affairs Manager at Chevron South Africa, said STEM subjects are at the heart of disruptive technology which is where the future of our economy lies. “Equipping learners with the skills they will need for tomorrow’s job market is what makes this programme exciting and is the reason Chevron has chosen to partner with ORT SA.”
ORT SA, is a non profit organisation that is part of a global network called World ORT. It describes itself as a multi-faceted that specialises in educational development initiatives; developing teachers, youth, businesses and communities to achieve a better life.