The advent of the fourth industrial revolution has a direct impact on the national basic education system. In response, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) is preparing to roll out robotics and coding on a wide scale. Cognitive of this, the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC), through the CSIR’s strategic objective 4, “Build and transform human capital and infrastructure”, had been conducting coding and computer hardware training at a small scale and on request, until the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) approved funding for the CHPC Computer Hardware and Coding Project in March 2022, for three years, from April 2022 to April 2024.
The project aims to ‘train the trainer’ (provincial departments of education officials, coding and robotics coordinators, science centre educators and unemployed graduates in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering and technology) in basic computer hardware and coding to deploy the trainers in different provinces to enhance the knowledge of coding in schools and the public. The training is a week-long, hands-on workshop that will take place three times a year (May, July and October) at the CHPC, Rosebank, Cape Town.
The launch was officially opened by Isaac Ramovha, Director: Science Promotion at the DSI. He emphasised the agreement between the DSI and the DBE on digital skills development, “The plan for this year is to train all the coding and robotics coordinators from all nine provinces. It is expected that all delegates who attend the trainings will go back and develop their provincial rollout plans to train educators in their respective districts. We hope that this will influence the design of the school coding curriculum,” he said.