In a landmark move, the Kenyan government has joined forces with tech giant Google to introduce a comprehensive coding program aimed at impacting over four million students and upskilling 42,000 teachers in both primary and secondary schools. The initiative, unveiled during this year’s Jamhuri Day celebrations by President William Ruto, underscores the government’s commitment to fostering digital literacy and driving technological advancement.
This groundbreaking partnership, orchestrated in collaboration with the ministries of Education and ICT, is set to implement a Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD)-endorsed coding curriculum. The announcement was met with enthusiasm, marking a pivotal step in the nation’s journey toward digital transformation.
President Ruto, in his address, highlighted the significance of the collaboration, stating, “Google, in collaboration with the ministries of Education and ICT, has begun implementing a KICD-sponsored coding program in primary and secondary schools to reach four million learners. The partnership will also train 42,000 teachers.”
While specific details about the schools benefiting from this initiative were not immediately disclosed, the move aligns seamlessly with the competency-based curriculum (CBC) introduced in Grade Six, emphasizing digital literacy as a cornerstone of education.
Coding, often synonymous with programming, involves translating human intentions into commands comprehensible to computers. This initiative reflects a strategic response to the escalating demand for coding skills in Kenya, with other notable players such as Safaricom and KCB having previously ventured into this space. Safaricom, through its M-Pesa Foundation Academy, and KCB, in collaboration with Kodris Africa, have made strides in integrating coding into the educational landscape.
A Google survey conducted last year revealed a surging demand for African computer software developers, a trend accentuated by Kenya adding at least 2,000 developers during that period. Notably, 38 percent of African developers worked for companies based outside the continent, indicating the global relevance and marketability of coding skills.
The impact of this demand is evident in the rising adoption of coding classes and clubs in high-end schools, particularly those in the private sector. This initiative, spearheaded by Google and the Kenyan government, seeks to democratize access to coding education, ensuring that learners across the country are equipped with essential skills for the digital age.
As Kenya embraces this transformative partnership, it not only addresses the immediate need for skilled developers but also lays the foundation for a tech-savvy future. The collaboration between the government and Google exemplifies a forward-looking approach to education, positioning Kenya as a hub for technological innovation and talent development.