A graduation awards ceremony in April 2024 marks the success of a pilot programme to introduce coding and robotics into the school curriculum in the Free State.

The programme was introduced at one secondary school and two primary schools by Kagiso Trust in partnership with the Free State Department of Education, and will now be expanded to other schools in the region.

“This partnership, with the invaluable contributions of service providers Sifiso EdTech and Dynamic Knowledge, represents a pivotal moment in educational innovation,” says Mankodi Moitse, CEO of Kagiso Trust.

“It directly addresses the critical need for digital literacy and technical skills within the South African education system. By arming students with knowledge in coding and robotics, we are setting the stage for a generation prepared to navigate and lead in a technology-centric future.”

The pilot programme began in June 2023 and centred on teacher development. Thirty-eight educators, school management team members and district officials were equipped with the skills to teach learners at Sentinel Primary School and Witsieshoek Primary School, both in Phuthaditjhaba, and Ntsu Secondary School in Bethlehem.

The graduation awards ceremony honoured the accomplishments of those involved in the programme and encouraged them as they enter the next phase, in which they will share the knowledge they have been empowered with at other schools in the region.

Advocate Tsoarelo Malakoane, the head of the provincial education department, says: “The integration of coding and robotics into our school curriculum marks a significant step forward in ensuring that our students are equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st century”.

Moitse says the programme’s flying start demonstrates that partnerships can be a formidable force for societal advancement and innovation. “By uniting the capabilities and resources of both the public and private sectors, we have established a robust foundation for enduring educational transformation,” she says.

“Our partnership with the Free State Department of Education goes beyond academics; it nurtures vital skills for a sustainable future. Together, we’re building a society where education empowers learners to thrive in a changing world, fostering resilience and innovation for generations to come.”