On 31 January 2023, UNESCO IITE and UNESCO’s Sector for Priority Africa and External Relations (PAX) with the support of UNESCO Field Offices of the target countries (the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of the Congo, and the Kingdom of Thailand) and CODEMAO held the First International Teacher Training Certificate Award Ceremony to acknowledge the 99 participants, who completed the first international teacher training in coding conducted in 2021-2022 (self-learning, 2 webinars, and submission of a coding project).
The Award Ceremony brought high-level officials, stakeholders, and educators together to strengthen crosscutting partnerships, exchange experiences of applying the coding tool Kitten Editor, and encourage teachers’ and students’ empowerment with digital skills for the 21st century. In total around 100 participants attended the online event.
Program of the event
The Ceremony consisted of four parts:
- Welcoming speeches of the Assistant Director-General for Priority Africa and External Relations, the Director of UNESCO IITE, the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the People’s Republic of China to UNESCO, and the CEO of CODEMAO;
- Remarks of heads and representatives of UNESCO Field Offices in the target countries;
- Key addresses from certified teachers (2 teachers from each target country) sharing experiences teaching the Kitten Editor in a classroom;
- Closing remarks from the Director of the Division of Priority Africa Coordination (UNESCO, Sector PAX).
The First Counsellor from the Permanent Delegation of Congo to UNESCO, and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kenya to France, Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Kenya to UNESCO also took the floor during the event.
The high-level officials highlighted the importance of building and strengthening South-South cooperation on emerging technologies, as well as reaching communities at the local level. They emphasized the essential role of technology to guide, nurture, inspire, and push the limits of the youth’s potential to become the responsible citizens of tomorrow. The representatives of Field Offices pointed out that training had a ripple effect on the larger student and teacher communities. The initiative was also promoted within the framework of the organization of national consultations on the transformation of education using ICTs to improve the quality of education and to strengthen the resilience of the education system in the face of global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It was advised to address the question of integrating coding training modules into curricula as well as school and teacher training programs.
The trained teachers shared their positive experiences of the training and follow-up activities. They indicated that teachers had acquired vital technological skills and created more complex programs using the Kitten Editor tool. Learners, on the other hand, had developed critical thinking skills and cultivated a passion for STEM courses. In addition, some teachers went a step further; they adapted the existing teaching materials to the local capacities and needs of students and developed additional materials to better support learners. Overall, all teachers expressed their appreciation for the trainings and stated that students were able to benefit from using the Kitten Editor by understanding the value of STEM in problem-solving and opening up to the scientific ways of thinking.
Fifth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum
The fruitful results of the joint initiative were also presented at the session of the 5th African Forum on STI dedicated to capacity building in digital skills, AI, and emerging technologies in Africa. The event in hybrid mode took place in Niger on 26 February 2023. The session served as a platform for sharing the results of ongoing projects and forging new synergies at the regional and local levels, with a special focus on South-South collaboration, and African youth and women. Mr. Zhan Tao, Director of UNESCO IITE, and Mr. Tianchi Li, CEO of CODEMAO participated online in the event and shared achievements and future steps of the UNESCO/CODEMAO “Youth Coding Initiative”.