Nairobi — Sixty-five teenagers have benefited from a coding program facilitated by Think Young Africa in partnership with Boeing in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
The closing ceremony of the 17th edition of Think Young Coding school was held on Sunday at Nairobi Garage attended by dignitaries from the two organizations and top government officials.
“We have noticed through our partners such as ThinkYoung that technology is needed. Coding is needed and we cannot hide anymore because it is the reality. So, we have to prepare this generation and equip them with digital skills for the future,” said Think Young Director Delila Kidanu.
Boeing Middle East President Kuljit Ghata said coding is crucial to children as it prepares them for the current world and the future world which will largely be reliant on digital skills.
Her sentiments were echoed by Kidanu who said, “We have ensured that all the programs that we have built out are research-based and also fill out the gaps in terms of what the market needs.”
Some of the children who attended the classes which included learning how to create websites, robotics, drones and aviation workshops said the classes instilled a sense of responsibility in them and expanded their mindset which are needed for a digital world.
“The school is amazing and engaging. You learn a lot of things. You not only learn about coding but also about how to be a better person which gives you a sense of responsibility that allows you to think outside the box,” said Elijah Simani.
ICT Principal Secretary, Department of Digital Economy John Tanui called on more Private Sector partners to come up with such initiatives saying the government is working hard to ensure coding is made part of school curriculum so that children can learn about digital skills at an early age.
“Coding and science knowledge are going to be very critical. So, we encourage parents to support their children. The government is working to ensure programs like coding are institutionalized in our schools and those of us who have finished and graduated but have these exciting spaces should enroll to learn about digital skills,” he said.
The program is expanding in Africa and in addition to Kenya, ThinkYoung and Boeing will run coding schools in Rwanda and Ethiopia.
Throughout the year, more than 150 African teenagers, 60 percent of which are girls; will benefit from free-of-charge lessons in computer programming through the ThinkYoung Coding School boot camps in Africa.
Since 2016, ThinkYoung and Boeing have introduced more than 1,300 teenagers to coding.
The Coding School is characterized by its innovative approach in a non-formal educational setting, addressing the real needs of the youth and the skills required to be successful in the modern world.
While the proportion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates in Africa averages less than 25 percent, ThinkYoung Coding School aims to train youth in digital skills and encourage them to pursue a higher education path in STEM subjects.
The programme seeks to ensure the next generation is equipped with top-notch skills to meet the global demand for skilled labour in tech and aerospace industries.