UWC launches its first Coding and Robotics Club

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The University of the Western Cape’s Science Learning Centre for Africa has launched its Coding and Robotics Club. The launch takes place during National Science Week. The club aims to expose school learners to technology and to popularise science among young people.

“Coding is the process of how humans communicate with computers. Turning instructions and ideas into a language that computers understand. UWC says the club will help popularise STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Director of UWC’s Science Learning Centre for Africa, Josef de Beer, says their Coding and Robotics Club will help prepare learners for future careers in coding and robotics.

“What the coding and robotics club wants to do is to whet student’s appetite for careers in ICT, coding, and robotics and develop 21st-century skills. the research has shown that coding and robotics hold affordances to develop creativity in learners, innovative thinking, problem-solving skills but if you look her also to help to learn, they develop soft skills because its team’s efforts, “said de Beer.

A lecturer at UWC’s School of Science and Mathematics, Zainoenisa Allie, says the university’s new coding and robotics club will make it possible for learners from all backgrounds to learn to code.

“There’s no economic status attached to it, It applies to everyone across the board, but what we are trying is to at least give that platform to the previously disadvantaged communities so that they can be exposed to this whole new world that they are going to be living in, about robotics and the automated world we are living in,” said Allie.

A teacher educator at the UWC’s faculty of education, Nonhlanhla Shandu-Omukunyi, says teachers have a critical role to play in shaping the future of learners who want to study coding.

“Coding and robotics are being integrated into the school curriculum. The club will offer short learning programmes and workshops for teachers, to build capacity and for re-skilling,” she said.

She added; “The teachers need to be part of the game as well and make sure that they provide the children who are coming from under-privileged backgrounds because they don’t have access at home so this is such an opportunity for this launch to be done here at UWC.”

The University says it’s currently working with eight schools in this pilot phase of its coding and robotics club, from areas including Belhar, Khayelitsha, and Mitchells Plain.