Lagos Govt, SAP to Boost Skills Development in Coding

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Emma Okonji

The Lagos State Government has identified ‘Africa Code Week’ (ACW), a continent-wide initiative to boost the interest of African children, teenagers and young adults in software coding. Computer coding has been described as a digital revolutionary approach to get the youths acquainted with the required skills set to face future workplace in today’s world of technologies.

Organised by SAP as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa, Africa Code Week is the story of hundreds of schools, teachers, ministers, community centres, code clubs, NGOs, businesses and non-profit organisations, getting together to give birth to the largest digital literacy initiative ever organized on the African continent.

Speaking at the commencement of @AfricaCodeWeek 2016 in Lagos, Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Femi Oduniyi, said with SAP’s long-term goal through ACW, to empower over 200,000 teachers and impact the lives of five million children and youth within the next ten years, the programme is appropriate and in line with the state’s agenda to empower youths.

According to Oduniyi, “One of the things that drive this government is the action to grow and empower our youths. One of the areas through which we can articulate that, is through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). We are in the era of digital revolution. This government wants to ensure that we do not miss out of that revolution; we want to empower our future leaders who are the youths of today.”

He added, “We want to help them to develop their creativity and be able to think out of the box. Today they are using coding tools; tomorrow they will be empowered to do more than that, by developing programs on e-health, security apparatuses and so forth. What is been imbedded in them today are skills required for the future.”

Speaking on the ICT/coding curriculum for schools in the state, the Commissioner said ICT is consistently changing the environment, hence the state is moving with the trends.
“This is the principal reason the State adopts programmes like Africa Code Week. We want to enhance the capacity of our teachers to be relevant,” Oduniyi said.

He advised teachers in the state to learn from the training and impart such knowledge to their students, in order to develop the cognitive skills of students.

Head, Business Operations, SAP West Africa, Olu Familusi, said with businesses increasingly digital and globally connected, coding is the new language for individual and economic growth.
“With the distinction of being the fastest growing digital consumer market on the planet, Africa continues to quickly embrace new technology and digital trends as estimated. For example, there will be 360 million smartphone users in Africa by 2025, there are 100 million African people active on Facebook every month, and 40 per cent of African businesses are in the planning stages of a big data project,” he said.

Familusi therefore advised youths to be serious with technology training, especially computer coding.

Speaking on the significance of ACW, Nigeria’s Coordinator of Africa Code Week, Mr. Olajide Ademola Ajayi, emphasised the need for youths to take interest in creative computing through hands-on and playful learning, since Africa Code Week simplifies the face of coding for the young generation.

“ACW is aimed at spreading digital literacy across the continent and start shaping tomorrow’s skilled workforce for sustainable growth in Africa. SAP already invests in technology skills for Africa, which provides additional business and IT skills to recent university graduates,” Ajayi said.