It is important to ensure that everyone is equipped with the necessary technological skills to cope with technology being at the centre of our lives due to the world shifting to 4IR. As one of the ways to approach the transformation and prepare for this digital, information-driven society, Sci-Enza facilitated an introduction to coding and robotics programme for primary schools in the Tshwane South area.
Funded by the Department of Science and Innovation through NRF SAASTA, Sci-Enza was able to introduce basic coding and robotics to over 500 public school learners. The aim of the project was to instil an interest in coding and robotics in learners as it will be part of their school curriculum in the near future.
All the schools that were part of the programme appreciated the exposure it brought, to the point that one learner even said, "I never enjoyed school until now, I am going to be a scientist when I grow up". In other schools, the learners even participated in a robot race, which was fascinating to watch. They were all so thrilled when their robots crossed the finish line even when they did not win the race.
Seeing the look on the learners’ faces as they build their robot, when it moves and when they realise that they are the ones controlling all the movements of the robots was heart-warming. This excitement on the learners’ faces also appealed to the teachers in a way that they even asked if they would also get the same training soon. Some wanted to know if this would be an ongoing project because they saw how their learners enjoyed the programme.
In the midst of all that playing and building robots, the learners were unknowingly gaining critical thinking skills, programming, the ability to solve complex problems, enhanced creativity and effective collaboration with others, which are skills that are needed to prepare them for the 21st century.
This programme indicated that there is a substantial interest in coding and robotics from the schools as most of them requested that Sci-Enza visits them again to present the programme to more learners. That is also Sci-Enza’s goal to extend our reach to even more schools, which can only be achievable with more funding.