Among African nations, Kenya has taken the lead in adopting a new curriculum for teaching coding in elementary and secondary schools.
The United States, England, Finland, France, and Germany have all made coding a major part of their school curricula, and now Kenyan kids have followed suit.
According to reports, Africa’s most populous country boasts the most digital businesses and the highest interest from investors on the continent. Even yet, the Nigerian government is missing out on the chance to nurture young talent across the educational system.
Programming, or coding, is the process of converting human intentions into computer instructions. Computational thinking is an important skill for youngsters to learn, according to experts.
When it comes to Africa, Nigerian officials seem OK with playing catch-up, even if we claim to be the continent’s most populous nation. As a whole, Kenya is performing well in the educational arena, and it has now surpassed itself in the field of computer programming. Private tech bootcamps in Nigeria’s metropolitan regions are leading the country’s startup environment, not the government, according to a certified Microsoft inventive educator, Maxwell Olurotimi James.
For all its pledges to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculums in schools, the federal government seems to be doing little in this area.
When it comes to coding, robotics, and drones, the Nigerian government “has given lip service to developing and implementing these technologies for many years,” Olurotimi James stated. However, he added that “the government has not exhibited any desire to live up to its word.”
Educators have also criticized the federal government for allocating such a little amount of the annual budget to education. In July 2021, the Nigerian government vowed to reach the global standard of 20% and to enhance the 2022 education budget by 50% and to 100% in succeeding years at the Global Education Summit in London.
5.4 percent or N923.79 billion of the N17.13 trillion budget was set aside for the sector in 2022. At 6.5 and 5.7 percent respectively, the 2022 proportion allotted to this area is less, despite a rise in the overall amount.
Kenya’s 2022-2023 budget allocates KSh 544.4 billion (N1.95 trillion) to the education sector, making it the top recipient.
Students may now learn how to code in real time via the use of a game-based learning platform developed in Kenya called Kodris. The company just announced that it would expand its coding curriculum to 48 more countries throughout Africa.
Olurotimi James, a Nigerian researcher, said that the government has a critical role to play in terms of research, ICT infrastructure, and teachers’ training, among other things, in this innovation.
“To effectively create a coding curriculum for pupils in upper primary school to university students, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, National Commission for Colleges of Education, among others as well as key tech players including National Information Technology Development Agency and the organised private sector must be adequately mobilised for the task.”
Experts agree that more has to be done in this area as well, given that many rural schools lack access to electricity, the Internet, and even computers. Additionally, the government has to work with current technological education providers in order to develop a strong curriculum.
“Time is ticking, the soul of tech and the future of jobs are at stake. The best time to create a coding curriculum was yesterday, the next best time is now!,” Olurotimi James added.