Africa University, UNESCO, The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Science and Technology Development and the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology hosted an intense four-day workshop that brought together the country’s best programmers whom the workshop organizers named, “Young Creatives”. The initiative was designed to sharpen the participants’ programming and coding skills to develop working mobile applications that will help solve some of the continent’s major challenges especially in the area of education and learn how to generate wealth from their creativity.
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Mr. Donald Tererai, the UNESCO Zimbabwe National Programme Officer delineated the parameters and core objectives of the workshop saying, “ICT’s have become intertwined and inextricable in people’s lives. Our main goals in carrying out this program is to build capacity in the youth to become problem solvers, to impart design thinking skills, teach social entrepreneurship and to hone the participants’ programming abilities.”
Addressing the Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa, Mr. Tererai expressed the gratitude of the partners and explained more about the selection process of the participants and what was expected of them. “Professor Furusa, the students that you see here before you are the Crème de la Crème of tech students from universities across the country. The process of selecting them was rigorous and rest assured that they have the capacity to rise to the challenge. This portion of the program is called the “Boot camp” phase where they will receive hands on training. At the end of Boot camp, they will then have to select a problem to work on and they will be required to develop a working, market-ready application that addresses the problem that they will have identified. We will have the students pitch their applications in a “Shark Tank” set up.”
The Vice Chancellor applauded the initiative saying, “The theme of the workshop, Transforming Zimbabwe into a knowledge based society: Strengthening quality education through integrating ICT’s into teaching, learning, research and innovation, has come at a most opportune moment within our country as we seek to transform our higher education landscape.
The UNESCO/ Korean Friends in Trust (KFIT) ICT Transforming Education in Africa project is a 4-year initiative launched in 2015 to foster human and social development in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, through the use of information and communication technology (ICT), and, in particular, mobile learning. Beneficiaries are teachers and students, primary and secondary public schools, higher education institutions, policy-makers, educational administrators and leaders (UNESCO.org).
Africa University has been at the forefront of pushing the agenda for transformative education in Zimbabwe and the continent that transcends the walls of the classroom and translates into innovation and tangible developmental outcomes. Through such strategic partnerships, AU continues to be a visionary and trailblazing institution in the field of innovation and business enterprise.
excerpt of a story by Jeanette Dadzie, OAPA Correspondent, Africa University
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