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Botswana’s Ministry of Basic Education Endorses Africa Code Week to Scale Coding Literacy Nationwide

SAP, along with its partners and Botswana’s Ministry of Basic Education, successfully trained more than 400 local Botswana teachers in computer coding this week through a series of Train-the-Trainer sessions in preparation for SAP Africa Code Week 2017.

Gathered at Gaborone Senior Secondary School and Mochudi Resource Centre, all 400 participants were trained to teach basic coding skills to their pupils using Scratch, a coding education programme designed by the MIT Media Lab to simplify the face of coding for the young generations.

“For coding to become an integral part of the school curriculum, teachers must be equipped with efficient, reliable teaching tools and materials,” says Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP and Africa Code Week Global Lead. “In 2016 more than 5,600 teachers and educators were trained, many of whom continue their coding journey to positively impact the lives of thousands of young people.” SAP’s long-term goal is to empower more than 200,000 teachers, and reach more than five million children and youth over the next ten years.

Founded in 2015, Africa Code Week is returning to the continent for the third time in October, with a goal to empower 500,000 young Africans with coding skills through hands-on, playful learning. Spearheaded by SAP and supported by UNESCO’s Youth Mobile initiative together with hundreds of public and private partners across Africa, last year’s events introduced coding to 426,000 youth across 30 countries over the course of nine days. This year, Africa Code Week will take place across 35 African countries between 18-25 October 2017. 

“Train-the-Trainer workshops in Gaborone provided a platform for the transfer of skills and knowledge from SAP Skilled Volunteers (‘Master Coding Instructors’) to local parents, teachers and educators, enabling them to teach coding to children and youth in their respective communities”, says Gillissen-Duval. “Fully in line with SAP’s vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, Africa Code Week is on a mission to prepare Africa’s young generations to seize the unprecedented opportunities offered by the global, digital economy.”

Digital skills key to Africa’s success


Speaking at the event, Honourable Minister Dr. Unity Dow, Minister of Basic Education in Botswana, insisted that “a sustainable, ICT-driven national growth will only be achieved through the development of local skills and expertise – with a particular emphasis on the development of ICT skills in children and young adults”. Underlining the importance of private-public partnerships in this day and age, she told the audience: “The Ministry of Basic Education is proud to endorse Africa Code Week and I could not encourage you more to take part and leverage this opportunity to become fluent in the language of the 21st century”

Africa Code Week has a coding curriculum for every age group and interest: Scratch Level 1 and 2 for youth aged 8 – 17 and an introduction to web technologies (HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP and SQL) for the 8-24 age group. “This year, thanks to the support of Honourable Minister Dow, the local community, SAP and partners, we plan to empower thousands of children with coding skills,” says Mooketsi Bennedict Tekere, CEO of Ngwana Enterprises Ltd. and implementing partner of Africa Code Week in Botswana.

Africa Code Week 2017

From October 18 to 25, Africa Code Week will provide thousands of free coding workshops and online training sessions to children and youth across 35 countries. The event always provides a number of ways for the public to get involved. Over and above actual attendance, opportunity exists for interested parties to host a free coding workshop, but to also receive free online training in Scratch. For further information about Africa Code Week, please visit  HYPERLINK "http://www.africacodeweek.org" www.africacodeweek.org or the  HYPERLINK "http://www.news-sap.com/" SAP News Center. Follow Africa Code Week on Twitter  "https://twitter.com/AfricaCodeWeek" @africacodeweek and  "https://twitter.com/sap4good" @sap4good.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.

JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.

This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.

“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.

This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.

“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.

UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.

In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.

This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.

Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”

Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”

UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.

Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.

“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview
UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.

The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.

While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.

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