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South Africa is poised to roll-out a new coding & robotics curriculum in primary schools in 2023. For the first time, computer science, computer programming and languages will be taking their place as components of a basic education. This recognises how important technology is in modern life and acknowledges that today’s children cannot be properly prepared for adulthood and the world of work, without formal education in the drivers of technology and the digital realm.
Floreat Primary, an almost 60-year old school in the Cape Town southern suburb of Retreat, is getting a head start on implementing coding & robotics with the opening of its STREAM laboratory. This fully-equipped 4iR classroom, that can accommodate 40 learners, is the latest in Sakhikamva Foundation’s roll-out of specialised tech laboratories that promote Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Aeronautics and Mathematics learning in schools serving under-resourced communities.
The STREAM laboratory at Floreat Primary is made possible through a partnership between Sakhikamva Foundation and the school’s long-standing supporter, the Prescient Foundation. Nicole Pinto, Chief Executive Officer at the Prescient Foundation says, “We’ve supported a variety of Sakhikamva Foundation’s coding and robotics education initiatives for more than five years, and similarly, we have an excellent relationship with Floreat Primary School which has been an engaging participant in our leadership programme since 2015. Establishing the STREAM laboratory at Floreat Primary now is coming full circle in our efforts to support sustainable development and community upliftment. Through our partnership with the Sakhikamva Foundation, we have the opportunity to contribute towards the development of 21st century skills at Floreat Primary School – skills that we believe are fundamental in creating and shaping our future leaders.”
Floreat Primary’s new internet-connected STREAM laboratory provides a stimulating environment for the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics skills. Learners will get hands-on experience with technologically advanced equipment including robotics and 3-D printers. There are Artificial Intelligence, engineering and science kits to ignite innovation and inspire critical thinking, design thinking and problem-solving capabilities.
Floreat Primary’s STREAM Laboratory represents a significant asset in the school community. Principal, Noel Isaacs says, “As a school of more than 900 learners and 25 educators, we are so grateful for this wonderful new learning environment. The laboratory will enable us to lay a solid foundation for Coding & Robotics education and give our children the opportunities to develop programming and other digital skills. On a day-to-day basis, our new tech lab will promote hands-on learning and teamwork, and the entire school is looking forward to a new era of tech learning adventures.”
Fatima Jakoet, who is the founder of Sakhikamva Foundation says, “We will be training and supporting Floreat Primary educators in STREAM philosophy and teaching methodologies so that they can guide their learners through the exciting 21st Century learning experiences made possible by their new facility. When the coding & robotics curriculum is introduced next year by the Department of Basic Education, they will already have the resources, know-how and confidence to seamlessly integrate this in their weekly timetable.”
Floreat is the second Primary school in the country to be equipped with a 4iR STREAM lab. The Sakhikamva Foundation has previously opened STREAM labs at Lanseria Airport in Gauteng, as well as various Western Cape schools. Through STREAM laboratories and many other STEM enrichment programmes and activities, the organisation has engaged with more than 150 000 South African learners across the country.
Jakoet concludes, “The roll-out of STREAM laboratories is an ongoing effort to bring learners into quality tech spaces to explore, discover, create and learn new skills essential in 21st Century life. It’s going to take more than just a curriculum. South African schools need to be fully equipped with tech and connectivity so that learners are empowered to develop as innovators, change agents and problem-solvers in their communities.”
Issued on behalf of Sakhikamva Foundation by liquidlingo Communications