Government to launch new software engineering programme for South African schools

The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) will launch a ‘School of Software Engineering’ programme for South African high schools.

The group said that the new ‘school’ forms part of a national initiative and will be implemented one province at a time – starting in the Free State on 25 April.

SITA said that its school of software engineering will equip learners with software-development, coding and other ICT skills.

As part of the programme, SITA will engineer and develop the curriculum at schools to include ICT initiatives such as coding, software development and other digital skills.

Graduates will either be offered scholarships for tertiary education in an ICT-related field, or given internships at SITA, or assisted in enterprise development to establish small, medium or micro-sized enterprises.

Five schools have been chosen to pilot the new Schools of Software Engineering including:

  • Kopanong Secondary (where the initiative will be launched);
  • Thabo-Vuyo Secondary in Rouxville;
  • Lekgarietse Secondary in Welkom;
  • Rebatla-Thuto Secondary in Koppies;
  • Mohaladitwe Secondary in Makwane, QwaQwa.

“The schools were chosen for their track record of academic excellence despite depressed socio-economic backgrounds, for their location (in five different district municipalities), and for the exceptional work ethic of learners, educators, governing bodies and parents,” SITA said.

“As per the specifications agreed with the Free State government, SITA is providing 40 computers per laboratory, connectivity, a curriculum, mentors and technical resources for the programme.”

Coding

In a parliamentary Q&A session earlier this month,  minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said that her department was busy preparing training teachers for the new coding curricula.

Motshekga said that these teachers will be trained on coding from June to September 2019.

Coding as a subject will be piloted at 1,000 schools across five provinces starting in the 2020 school year.

In March, Motshekga said that the University of South Africa (UNISA) has partnered with the DBE by making available their 24 ICT Laboratories throughout the country for the training of 72,000 teachers in coding.

She added that Google, Teen Geeks and other businesses are also supporting the DBE to develop a coding platform that uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to customise teaching and learning.

“The curricula will ensure that our schooling system produces learners with the foundations for future work, and equip them with skills for the changing world,” Motshekga said.

The minister said that the DBE will also be introducing a robotics curriculum from Grade R-9.

These teachers will be trained on coding from June to September 2019.


Read: South African schools will soon get these 8 new subjects – including coding

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Government to launch new software engineering programme for South African schools