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South Africa’s First STEM Digital School

THIS year, computer science and non-profit organisation, Africa Teen Geeks launched their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) digital school to help learners continue their computer science education.

The digital school launched at the end of March this year to comply with social distancing measures and ensure the safety of their learners

The organisation’s classes were at 12pm exclusively for matrics and classes for the other grades were held from 8am to 5pm.

The organisation has partnered with the Department of Basic Education and the SASOL Foundation to ensure that the digital school remained free of charge for learners.  

Anacletta Koloko Program Practitioner, Corporate Affairs, Sasol Foundation, stated that free digital learning and online textbooks have become important for their existing efforts to support STEM education in South Africa.

“During this time of crisis, these resources are becoming even more relevant in ensuring that our children’s development continues to be supported,” said Koloko.

Providing IT training to lower-income communities

Africa Teen Geeks was founded in 2014 and has since become the largest computer science non-profit organisation (NPO) in Africa. 

The organisation has worked to provide education and training to learners who want to pursue a STEM career. Along with the STEM digital school, the NPO has also provided Saturday coding classes and a Girl Geek Summit.

There is a growing to teach children in lower-income communities as there are very few qualified computer science teachers in these communities, according to Africa Teen Geek. As a result, children fall behind in their computer science studies. The NPO aims to address this by training young individuals in computer science and sending them to teach at different schools in these areas.

Partnership with UNISA

The NPO has also partnered with the University of South Africa (UNISA) and in 2015, they were able to host their first computer science week. More than 12 000 children from impoverished communities attended and were able to learn about computer science at UNISA’s labs.

Many of the learners who attended had never touched a computer before but then end of the first day, they were able to write their first code.

It is through these Africa Teen Geek’s efforts such as computer science week and with the effort of more than 1000 volunteers that they have helped almost 50 000 children.

(SOURCE: VENTUREBURN)

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