Hundreds of thousand of secondary school students graduate from grade 12 without mastering basics computer skills, despite having computer education as one of secondary subjects starting from grade 10. As a result, few students have access to this poor quality computer science education, which limits their ability to access economic empowerment opportunities such as jobs, scholarship, tech-based income generating project etc. Some have serious challenges in using basic Microsoft Word to type their CV, search for jobs on LinkedIn and scholarship opportunities on the internet and submit applications on online platforms. Apart from that, they cannot benefit from e-learning programs offered by distance education universities, use social media such as Facebook for business, use Google search engines for academic research or network with like minded youths around the world. With such a scenario, Mozambique is far from accomplishing the UNSDG on access to quality education.
Information technology as a subject is only introduced at grade 10 and it is not considered as a basic or compulsory subject. Apart from the subject being lately introduced, there a very few schools with computer labs, well equipped with computers with internet accessibility. Of these few existing, greater part of the computers are not functional due to lack of maintenance. These schools lack well qualified computer science teachers and many are located in the rural areas where there is no access to electricity or telecommunications infrastructure.
Ever since our founding, we have been operating in borrowed spaces i.e. public school computer lab, which has been a challenge because our timetable usually clashed with the internal school programs. There has not been full collaboration from school teachers to continue with the project activities through establishing code club since the project does not give any form of remuneration. Most of these schools no not have internet connection, thus making it difficult for us to work with online resources or tools such as videos tutorials.
Ubuntu Coding Lab is a project which seeks to build a computer lab where children up 17 years of age can have access to free computer course. The coding lab will be built from recycled plastic and glass bottles which are already being collected, as a strategy to reduce construction costs and promote environmental protection awareness. Apart from teaching basic computer skills, the project takes a step further, introducing coding classes as a strategy to empower children to discover their potential. The Coding Lab will be equipped with Kano Computer Kits, allow the children, not only to learn how to code, but also built the computers before using them. With $15,000 we can built a computer lab with 3 classrooms and a capacity of 50 students each. In 12 month period we will be able to reach out to 3600 children through one month training programs and 4800 through hackathons, conferences and workshops. Since computer programming syntax comes in English, the children will also learn some basic English concepts and improve communication skills.
In the past we have received the following grants:
- 2016- We got $1000 grant from Google Cape Town Science Centre to implement #GirlsWhoCode project during the Africa Code Week in Chimoio, which benefited 45 girls from Bloco Nove Primary school.
- 2018-We got a $1000 grant from Friends Of Mozambique with which we implemented project #GirlsWhoCode, benefiting 60 girls. The girls were engaged in Scratch coding and leadership development.
- 2019-We received $500 grant from The Pollination Project through which we will train 30 children(15 boys and 15 girls) to code using Scratch in project #HourOfCode
So, please help us by donating whatever amount you can and contribute to provide free digital education to marginalised children.