• Friday, July 19, 2024
businessday logo


Kenya approves first coding syllabus in Africa, Nigeria looks on

Kenya approves first coding syllabus in Africa, Nigeria looks on

Kenya has taken the lead over other African countries including Nigeria to approve a new syllabus for teaching coding in primary and secondary schools.
Kenyan students have now joined the list of growing giants like the United States, England, Finland, France and Germany who have made coding a key area of study in their school curriculum.

Reports show that the giant of Africa has the largest number of tech startups and gets the most interest from investors. However, the Nigerian government is not seizing the opportunity to develop talents from schools at all levels.

Coding, which is also known as programming, involves translating human intentions into commands that can be understood by computers. Experts say that coding is a practical thinking activity that enables children to imagine, create and solve problems.

“The Nigerian government is comfortable with playing catch-up in a continent we claim to be the giant of. Kenya is doing quite well in education generally and has now taken the lead in coding. Leading the tech startup ecosystem is not a result of the government’s deliberate action but coordinated efforts of private tech boot camps in urban areas of Nigeria,” Maxwell Olurotimi James, a Certified Microsoft innovative educator told BusinessDay.

While the federal government is yet to fulfil its several promises made to develop the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculum in schools, it is doing nothing as regards the adoption of a technology curriculum.

Read also: Wardchat leverages technology to connect voters across Nigeria

“They have paid lip service to developing and adopting a tech including coding, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicle popularly known as a drone, the curriculum in Nigeria for many years but the government has not demonstrated the will to live up to its word,” Olurotimi James said.

Also, some educationists have called out the federal government on the percentage of each year’s budget allocated to the Education sector. In July 2021, the Nigerian government had promised, at the Global Education Summit held in London, to meet up with the global benchmark of 20 percent and to also increase the 2022 education budget by 50 percent and to 100 percent in subsequent years.

Out of the 2022 budget totalling N17.13 trillion, 5.4 percent at N923.79 billion was allocated to the sector. Though the figure increased, the percentage allocated to the sector in 2022 is lower than both 2020 and 2021 at 6.5 and 5.7 percent respectively.

In the case of Kenya, the Education sector is the biggest beneficiary in the country’s 2022-2023 budget, with a sum of KSh 544.4 billion which translates to N1.95 trillion.

Kodris, a Kenyan game-based online e-learning platform that teaches students a real coding language and how to create algorithms, recently announced that it will be offering the coding syllabus in another 48 nations on the continent.

While experts are optimistic about this innovation including Nigeria, Olurotimi James pointed out that the government has a crucial role to play in terms of research, Information and Communications Technology infrastructure, and teachers’ training, among others.

“To effectively create a coding curriculum for pupils in upper primary school to university students, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, National Commission for Colleges of Education, among others as well as key tech players including National Information Technology Development Agency and the organised private sector must be adequately mobilised for the task.”

As most rural schools do not have access to power, the Internet and even computers, experts say work needs to be done regarding that too. The government also needs to involve existing technology education providers to come up with a robust curriculum.

“Time is ticking, the soul of tech and the future of jobs are at stake. The best time to create a coding curriculum was yesterday, the next best time is now!,” Olurotimi James added.