Coding empowers teachers across South Africa

In a collaborative partnership with teacher unions, Tangible Africa has trained over 600 teachers across South Africa in coding skills to implement in the classroom.

The cohort of teachers, who were trained between June and September, are now known as Master Trainers and in turn, will train around 16 000 other teachers in offline coding.

Leva Foundation Operations Manager Jackson Tshabalala said 500 South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), 40 National Teachers’ Union (NATU) and 60 Suid-Afrikaanse Onderwysersunie (SAOU) teachers were trained across all nine provinces in less than three months.

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“This was a great collaboration between Tangible Africa and the teachers unions. The most rewarding part of the training was demystifying coding to some of the teachers who reported feelings of anxiety, fear and nervousness before the training; but afterwards felt encouraged, ready and excited to start coding at their schools,” said Tshabalala.

The training offered by 12 young facilitators from Tangible Africa, an engagement project of Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department and the Leva Foundation, empowered the teachers to teach coding concepts without computers – by using limited resources including a smartphone and coding App games (downloadable as TANKS, RANGERS and BOATS).

“This was also an empowering experience for our facilitators, who are mostly graduates from the University. They were able to share their technical skillset in a workshop setting, and for some of our facilitators it was their first time on a plane. The training allowed our facilitators to build up their capacity to offer future Unplugged Coding workshops to other organisations,” said Tshabalala.

Economies of scale and skill

SADTU Vice-President of Education, Faseega Solomon, said the project by Tangible Africa suited the Teacher Union Collaboration training earmarked for the year since it was themed ‘Skills for a changing world’. The annual training is a partnership between the major unions in the country and the Department of Basic Education.

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