The SA Computer Olympiad, one of IITPSA’s key skills development projects, will go ahead online this year. The first round of the South African Programming Olympiad will run from today (27 July) to 31 July.

Given the Covid-19 regulations at schools across the country, the first event, the coding contest, will be for one hour and online only, to give teachers as little additional work as possible in what has been described as “not a normal year”.

The Olympiad organisers note that many teens have been “messing about with code” during lockdown, and they see this as one of many good reasons to continue with the Olympiad in 2020.

“It contributes to futureproofing South Africa. Building the data skills of today’s teens can help South Africa develop beyond the pandemic,” says manager, Michael Cameron. “Today entrepreneurs are looking for young programmers. They see the benefit of having tech-savvy teens in business. It is best to start young – some primary schools enter grade 7 learners.”

Any programming language may be used for this round – the most popular are Scratch, Python, Java, and Delphi/Pascal. A website provides past papers with solutions in different languages, as well as links to YouTube videos on practising with the online saco-evaluator.

The Programming Olympiad has developed top programming skills for 35 years. The six medal winners from the final round are invited to training, to develop and select a team of four to take part in the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) in the following year.

This year, South Africa is one of the 88 countries taking part in the first-ever online IOI to be held in mid-September. Team members are from Eden College, Durban (Aaron Naidu), St John’s College, Johannesburg (Andi Qu) and, from Cape Town, Fairbairn College (M Taariq Mowzer) and Curro Durbanville (Adri Wessels).

Schools may enter even during the actual week of the contest at:

For further information visit