The introduction of coding and robotics to South African schools has been on the cards for a few years now. Some schools didn’t wait around for a plan from the government and have already implemented the subjects their own way. Hopefully, the recently announced partnership between Oxford University Press and Resolute Education will bring the new subjects to more schools in the country.
Coding and robotics are child’s play
The partnership aims to provide learners in a classroom or online learning environment with a practical kit of techy components. But those kits are for schools that already have the means to use them.
For the schools where that isn’t possible, the solution offered by the partnership also includes worksheets, lesson plans, and workbooks. Although, for a subject like robotics, worksheets can only get you so far. Coding- or robotic-illiterate teachers won’t be out of a job (just yet), they’ll receive guidance and training as well.
Hanri Pieterse, the managing director of Oxford University Press Africa, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership, saying “The manufacturing of all devices, machinery, household equipment, cars, etc. requires coding capability, and has already become a scarce and essential skill for future jobs. We are excited to be able to transform lives by offering the foundation for this essential skill set.”
We’re getting there
In 2021, the Department of Basic Education announced plans to include the two new subjects in the national curriculum. Grades R, 3, and 7 at some schools were introduced to the program towards the end of the year. The DBE said it would continue with the gradual rollout to more grades at more schools, with the subjects properly introduced to grades 8 and 9 in 2024 and 2025.
We’ve still got a ways to go if our calendars are correct. Maybe this new Oxford University Press – Resolute Education partnership can speed things up. For schools that can afford it, that is.