…State sees the initiative as great leverage for youth empowerment in the digital age
SAP’s Africa Code Week (ACW) initiative, has received accolades as a critical leverage to bridge the continent-wide digital divide, as well as being a significant launch-pad for youth empowerment in the digital era.
His Excellency, Mr. Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, Executive Governor of Ondo State, gave a rousing speech where he thanked SAP and ACW key and primary partners (UNESCO YouthMobile, the Cape Town Science Centre, the Galway Education Centre and Google) for their vision of every African child empowered though ICT.
Mr. Akeredolu spoke through Deputy Governor of the State, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, at a two-day Train-the-Trainer (TTT) hands-on workshop organized by SAP in partnership with the State. Based on the globally-acclaimed Scratch interface developed by the MIT Media Lab to simplify the face of coding for the young generation, this TTT aimed at imparting coding skills to secondary school teachers across the three Senatorial Districts in the run up to Africa Code Week 2017 – which will take place from 18 to 25 October across 35 countries.
The Governor said he considers the workshop as very relevant since the time has come for Government and the private sector entities to work together to promote digital access, improve ICT skills and create opportunities for youths in our ever-competitive and dynamic world.
His words: “It is also gratifying to note that SAP shares this philosophy that we need to join forces to bridge the digital skills and gender gap continent-wide. I am therefore very happy that SAP is deploying their skilled volunteers to train teachers in Ondo State who, will in turn, will train the next generation of ICT savvy youths”.
Mr. Akeredolu said the State desires that the citizenry of Ondo State participate actively in the new economy, benefiting from the opportunities it presents. To facilitate this, the Government is championing many ICT initiatives such as the planned establishment of Tech Hubs in each of the three senatorial districts, to make governance more effective and efficient.
“This will provide an enabling environment for different categories of youths and ICT enthusiasts to acquire and develop different skills in information and communication technology, which can be deployed for economic gains as ‘techpreneurs’, the Governor said.
“ICT has become an indispensable and most effective platform for rapid and sustainable development in the 21st Century. It provides multiple economic and employment opportunities to both urban and rural development, increases productivity, offers easier and cheaper access to financial, educational and health services and generally enables society to function more efficiently.
“Governments worldwide, from sub-national to national, are placing huge emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses in the new educational paradigm. However, one common thread that passes through these four pillars of future prosperity in communities globally, is information technology. Hence, the prosperity, wealth and greatness of nations in the new milieu, where IT appreciation and adoption is king, will depend on how much of the IT concepts and benefits can be deployed, to drive governance and development,” Mr. Akinkugbe said.
Speaking further on ACW 2017, Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Africa Code Week Global Lead said: “Leveraging freely accessible teaching materials like Scratch, ACW Train-the-Trainer workshops provide a sound, scalable structure for inter-group knowledge sharing, unlocking people’s potential and desire to serve as resources for each other. In the knowledge sharing age we live in, this is the key to scaling digital literacy initiatives in a sustainable way, across all communities.”
Also, Pedro Guerreiro, MD SAP West Africa stated that ACW, reinforces SAP’s commitment to education, creating a full lifecycle of skills support for young people in Africa. With a goal to empower 200,000+ teachers and positively impact the lives of 5M young Africans over the next 10 years, ACW is built to be sustainable and provide long-term impact.
Commenting on the success of the TTT event, Mr. Olajide Ademola Ajayi, Africa Code Week Ambassador in Nigeria, thanked the Ondo State government for embracing the initiative, facilitating teachers’ attendance and providing a superb venue (The Public Service Training Institute, Ilara-Mokin) for the event. He stated that 209 teachers, volunteers and unemployed graduates were trained by ACW Master Coding Instructors and Ambassadors over a 2-day period.
Mr. Ajayi also said: “following this successful TTT, we are working with the state government to ensure that the program is sustained, starting with teachers introducing Scratch coding to as many students as possible during the ACW Live sessions (from 18 to 25 October).”