Lagos reignites race to create one million code soldiers

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By Oluwatobi Opusunju

Lagos State has this month re-ignited its CodeLagos Project, a second phase of an ambitious plan to develop IT capacity in one million young people by 2019 and position Lagos State as the technology hub in Africa. The initiative was first launched last year.

In this second phase, Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos has launched 300 new coding centres in across Nigeria’s commercial capital city of over 15 million people. Participants are to sign on from any of the centres. It is free.  The partners include SystemSpecs, PWC, and ARM Pension.

CodeLagos Project aims at bridging the technology gaps among Nigerian youths and help to harness technology skills in them. The initiative plans to help meet the growing demand for technical skills and increase a workforce that would be conversant with global trends as well as provide solutions to socio-economic problems.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh said about 65 schools including government and private schools took part in the pilot phase; 23 of the 65 schools were government schools while seven were girls’ only school. Two were exclusively boys’ schools.

“The training has delivered to the student’s critical life skills, including basic computing, computational thinking and use of basic computer programming tools like Scratch and python over a period of 8 weeks and the feedback has been inspiring,”  Mr Obafela.

According to Obafela, “the pilot phase has helped us test our assumptions and implementation plan; we have observed what worked and what didn’t and would put them into consideration for future roll out beginning with the next batch slated for September, 2017.”

In the new scheme, the project is to be rolled out in all the state-owned public libraries to ensure access to Code Lagos classes for more Lagosians especially those out of the conventional schools system for free.

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