10.23919/ISTAFRICA.2017.8102343">
 

Title

Introducing computer programming in secondary schools: A case study of NAMTOSS

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

2017

Department/School

Computer Science

Publication Title

2017 IST-Africa week conference, IST-Africa 2017

Abstract

Most countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) have adopted national development plans that recognize ICT as the main driver for economic development. For ICT to effectively contribute to the national development agenda however, there is a need to ensure that citizens are ICT literate. As a result, a number of countries have developed Subject Policy Guidelines aimed at introducing Computer Studies at Secondary School level. While most of these guidelines are carefully crafted, actual implementation in secondary schools has proved troublesome; having under-maintained or non-existent ICT infrastructures along with inadequately trained teachers as major obstacles. Subsequently, most African student's first exposure to computer programming occurs in the first year of university education, thus entering the Computer Science major without any prior hands-on experience. The Namibian Technology Outreach to Secondary Schools (NAMTOSS) initiative is a pilot program started by the School of Computing (SoC) at the University of Namibia (UNAM) in March 2016. NAMTOSS is a partnership between secondary school teachers, learners and the staff members of the School of Computing at UNAM that is designed to introduce computer programming skills and computational thinking at secondary school level. NAMTOSS attempts to address the structural and systemic issues raised by previously unsuccessful outreach efforts conducted in Southern Africa. In this paper, we enumerate the successes and failures of our initial outreach efforts and suggest several enhancements to our program that we feel will lead to its success.

Link to Published Version

10.23919/ISTAFRICA.2017.8102343

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