There are several reports about the ICT Skills gap in Africa, worse still there are few IT teachers on the continent and those present lack the modern skills and training needed but a non profit in South Africa has began a program to end these.
Umonya,a Cape Town based non profit founded by Lindsay Gaynor is teaching programming and computer science to kids as young as 10 to 19 years in South Africa, in a move seen to expose them to programming and computer science to make them self reliable in future.
Umonya provide theoretic lectures and practical classes to teach high-school children how to program in Python as well as give them an environment where they can be tutored and guided in their computer skills.
According to Umonya, ” We provide an online community where School children can teach themselves to program through a structured, easy to learn online course. We also provide forums and discussion groups where they can freely seek help and guidance as well as find helpful information.”
Umonya also wants to encourage kids to take up computer science classes at school to be relevant in today’s world.
Umonya has began teaching the kids Python because they say it is easy to learn and serves as a perfect language for an introduction to programming.
In October they held an event at the University of Cape Town’s Computer Science Department where 80 children attended.
According to the founders,the kids were excited about the program.
The founders said:” They all received their rather intimidating text-book and goody bags, including t-shirts kindly sponsored by Amazon. We spent the afternoon getting to know each other while playing “Robo-Rally” a fun board game that involves logic and programmatic thinking to get a little robot from point A to point B. The kids worked in groups of two which got them to work as a team as well as get to know others that share their interest in learning, science, maths and most importantly, computers science.”