The announcement of the adoption of a coding curriculum in Kenya’s undergraduate education brought back memories of 2016 when I attended a student innovation bootcamp of the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Kenya and Airtel Kenya. Taken home for me was how internet access and a digitized space provide students with endless innovative learning opportunities.
I am excited again because the curriculum is a plus in creating a strong ICT base among students and the overall development of the digital economy in the nation. It does so by changing the national age group, where the prevalence and use of the Internet and computers peaks.
We have had a late and skewed penetration with inequalities in urban and rural areas and along gender dimensions. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics National ICT Survey Report for 2018 shows that computer use increased as age peaked at 20-24 years before a gradual decline. Age group 30-34 suffered in access to all ICT equipment.
Exposing children to coding at a young age will ultimately increase basic digital skills. A number of Kenyan innovations from Kenyans with world recognition have fitted well into global digital spaces despite the late intrusion and use of computers.
It is not only the pride that Kenya gets for being the first country in Africa to have introduced a coding curriculum, but the benefits that students will get from it.
We live in a dispensation where the lack of digital skills prevents a large percentage of the population from taking full advantage of the opportunities within the ICT landscape – in the form of education, job creation and the provision of services.
Many times, children are engrossed in comic book programs or playing video games. How potent would it be to offer a platform that enables children to visualize developing their own cartoons and games?
Coding also helps with problem solving, perseverance, analytical, computational thinking and problem solving skills.