South African girls acquire coding skills


South African girls are seen here participating in the Vodacom's coding training skills

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) MORE than 600 South African girls are to receive coding training in an effort to encourage more girls to explore these careers.

Vodacom has launched the #CodeLikeAGirl programme to benefit the girls aged between the ages of 14 and 18.

The training scheme will run from October 4-7.

Njabulo Mashigo, Human Resources Director for Vodacom South Africa, said they recognised the immense value that gets added to the workplace when women and girls play significant roles in science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) fields.

“Through this project, our vision is to address the under-representation of women and girls in STEM education and careers,” the official said.

It is noted only 35 percent of girls enter further education in STEM subjects and many have little encouragement to equip themselves with the skills to thrive in these industries.

“Through this initiative, we are looking to improve on these numbers, and empower even more women to explore STEM careers,” Mashigo said.

Coding is a way of solving problems, sequential thinking and stimulating, creating and designing.

Female participation is lagging in a field that is expanding globally and men continue to dominate the number of STEM graduates in most countries.

These were some of the concerns expressed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently.

For example, only 3 percent of female students in higher education choose information and communication technologies (ICT) studies.

“Projects, such as Vodacom’s #Code like a Girl, have the potential to significantly close the gender gap and inspire young girls to pursue STEM careers in the digital era towards which we are transitioning” Mashigo said.

During the week-long training course, learners will be exposed in basic knowledge of computer languages, robotics and development programmes including HTML, CSS, GitHub and Version control, Bootstrap, JavaScript and Basic Computer and Introduction to Coding.

The programme has been implemented in Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho and Tanzania since 2017.

– CAJ News