NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 3 – Kenya is at the early stages of preparing students for jobs that will be in demand in the future.
Diamond Junior School Director Janet Mulei says future career paths need students with necessary skills to tackle emerging opportunities that include artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, non-humanoid robotics and encryption.
“These skills are set to drive future growth across industries as diverse as health, education, marketing and agriculture among others,” Mulei says.
She says students need to learn these new technologies early enough and be adept with them.
“Virtually every country in the world is working towards a digital economy. As this new economy evolves, special skills like computer programming are needed,” she explained.
Several studies have assessed the effect of learning code on primary school children – usually between the ages of six and 13. In each case, the findings show that it is beneficial to children, irrespective of their career path later on in life.
“Coding is just another language, and children are known to learn new languages faster than older people. So starting young is a good idea. Several countries – including Australia, Finland, Italy, and England – have developed coding curricula for children between the ages of five and 16 years,” she added.
In 2016, Kenya launched the nationwide rollout of its Digital Literacy Programme in primary schools and has to date distributed over one million devices to more than 19,000 public primary schools across the country.
According to the ICT Authority, about 91,000 teachers have been trained to deliver the digital learning content and more than 89.2 percent of all the public primary schools have been supplied with the devices.
At the same time, teachers across the country’s public primary schools have reported increased student alertness, boosted school attendance, and increased school admissions, according to the ICT Authority.
Coderina, a youth-focused not-for-profit organization that works to promote and enable innovation and creativity in STEM skills across Nigeria and Africa is gradually rolling out robotics and coding training in 30 schools in Kenya.
The students get to participate in FIRST (For inspiration and recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO league which is an international tournament in more than 100 countries that seeks to inspire students to build skills in hands-on learning possibilities, creativity, collaboration, and fun.
“At our school, we are intentional about integrating ICT with learning because it affects every aspect of our life and deliberately equips our students with skills and opportunities that strengthen 21st century required skills. Our children will need to thrive in communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills to enable them to thrive in their personal lives and their careers,” she noted.
Some of the STEM subjects included in Diamond Junior’s curriculum are Robotics, Coding, Lego Education and the children begin with these subjects from as early as 5 – 6 years.
“In 2019 Diamond Junior School was awarded the GESS Education award in Dubai for best use of digital Learning in the classroom,” says Mulei.