President’s Podium – June / July 2018

In last month’s newsletter I wrote about introducing programming as a compulsory subject in schools. We need to prepare our youth for careers that don’t exist yet. A few days after I wrote the piece, I came across an ITWeb article titled “It’s time to introduce coding in schools, says govt”. According to the deputy Minister of Communications, the administration is said to be considering basic coding skills in South Africa’s education system.

 

I was elated to read this, but then my scepticism reared its monstrous head. Not that I am a sceptical person by nature. I don’t look for problems to solutions, but I have come to realise that when it comes to policy changes and implementation we are a little slow off the mark. Be that as it may, while we continue to lobby this cause, we, as individuals and industry, can assist our youth by offering programmes which will fill this gap.

 

There are already a number of organisations which are addressing the lack of ICT skills amongst the youth. The work they do is remarkable. Some of these organisations are:

  • Code for Change
  • GirlCode
  • WeThinkCode
  • Code4CT

 

IITPSA also has a number of fantastic initiatives around promoting IT literacy and programming. I recently attended the annual Applications Olympiad awards function in Cape Town to honour and recognise the finalists and winners of this challenging competition. The participants in the competition have to solve a number of problems using a common office package with provided data.

 

Another initiative of this type is the Programming Olympiad which kicks off on Monday 13 August. This challenge is for learners who can use a programming language like Scratch, Python, Java, C++ or Delphi. Selected participants are entered into the International Olympiad in Informatics.

 

The Institute also sponsors school learners to study Java Programming online.

 

As we wait and see what happens with coding in school, let’s continue to encourage and motivate our learners to learn another language (and no, I am not talking about French). But it is also up to us to provide the platforms and mechanisms to make this possible.

 

Ciao

 

Ulandi

 

PS: So AI was wrong about the Soccer World Cup Predictions. 🙂