South African telco Cell C has partnered with GirlCode, an SA-based NPO that seeks to empower women through technology, to bring a coding programme to youth aged between 10 and 18 years in South Africa.

The GirlCoder Club is open to both boys and girls, however, to improve their levels of exposure to the ICT world, the programme is primarily focused on girls. The programme commences in March for a duration of 10 months and classes take place every second Saturday. The younger age group (10-13 years) will learn coding with Scratch and Robotics and the older age group (14-18 years) will learn HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), there is a dire need for critical skills that meet 4IR requirements that will enable South Africa as a country to drive socio-economic development but also compete favourably on a global scale.

Developing these scarce skills in youth primes them to fill the much-needed technology-driven roles such as Data Scientists, Digital Architects, Artificial Intelligence (AI), User Experience (UX) and Interface Experience (IX) experts.

“We are living in a rapidly changing world and it’s not enough for children to just play with technology, we have to encourage and give them a chance to understand, create, and work with it. Teaching coding skills is not just about getting developers, it is about teaching logic and creativity. Coding is simply another language to drive creation and innovation in a world increasingly driven by technology,” Zandile Mkwanazi, CEO at GirlCode, said.

Lethiwe Hlatshwayo, Executive Head at Cell C, said the company is committed to bridging the digital divide and to do so, partnerships such as this one with GirlCode is one of the vehicles with which we can do that.

“We are excited as a company to be making our contribution to connecting people to the digital world and helping build the country’s digital skills pool. This is not only aligned to our ambition towards being a technology company, but it is also essential for our growth and competitiveness as a country,” Hlatshwayo said.

Edited by Zintle Nkohla

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