Lack of coding textbooks, computers impede basic level education

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  • Ghana Code Club calls for partnership with gov’t

The absence of textbooks and computers for teaching and learning coding at the basic education level is impeding teachers from delivering expected outcomes in the classroom, the Ghana Code Club has indicated.

The Code Club has also bemoaned the lack of information technology infrastructure in more than 90 percent of government basic schools across the country, and has called on government to attach some level of urgency to Information Technology (IT) and coding-related education at basic schools.

Educational experts believe that the recent introduction of coding in basic school curricula has been a challenge to the many supposed IT educators, who might not have received adequate training in coding from the Ghana Education Service (GES) before deployment.

The presence of about 18,530 primary schools and 8,850 Junior High Schools in the country also means that government must put in extra work to supply the needed logistics for coding education.

“Despite the challenges, we have trained about 600 IT tutors in coding clubs across the country to enable them understand the principles and concepts of coding,” Ernestina Appiah, CEO-Ghana Code Club, disclosed at a one-day forum on Digitisation, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Things organised by the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) and Republic Bank, in Accra.

The forum, which was subtitled ‘The impact and immense opportunities for Ghanaian businesses’, provided the platform for panellists who discussed the ever-growing prospects and opportunities in the IT sector, particularly in this pandemic-era.

But Ms. Appiah is certain that the prospects in IT knowledge must be given the topmost priority right from the basic level of education, and not considered as a second option due to growing demand.

It is anticipated that over the next decade there will be a massive shortfall in the number of computer science graduates able to occupy the coding careers available, as over 14 million job postings in the USA – in 2019 alone – were for roles which value coding skills.

This signifies the proliferation of coding into many different industries. In fact, computer knowledge is a key element in many diverse areas of work – such as medicine and banking – where insight of programming and coding is of increasing relevance and importance.

Thus, the Ghana Code Club has said government must move swiftly to partner organisations and agencies that are into coding to assist in the basic school level.

Ms. Appiah urged Ghanaian businesses to equip themselves with digital technology skills in order for them to stay afloat in their respective industries. Technology, she said, is transforming the way people work around the globe, and as such it is important to keep abreast with basic digital knowledge and skills to remain relevant.

The Ghana Code Club has existed since 2015 and has collaborated with the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Education, and also trained managers at the Ministry of Communications in the past.

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