The Guard

The Truth On Board

Rural school embraces coding, robotics

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – Nexus Primary School in the greater Tshiame area near Harrismith has welcomed the introduction of the coding and robotics programme, hailing it as a game changer that will strengthen pupils’ critical thinking and develop better logic and computational thinking.

In an interview with The Guard, coding instructor Bongani Ratia said the Tshiame community is left behind when it comes to technology.

“This initiative will help learners and teachers to be familiar with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) opportunities. It will also make teaching a lot easier and make our learners global citizens,” Ratia said.

One of the Nexus pupils, Kamohelo Moeketsane, said the coding and robotics programme will enable him to solve problems.

“I am happy to do coding and robotics; this will enable us to compete with our urban counterparts in terms of technology use.”

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, learners from previously disadvantaged schools were negatively affected by the digital divide. Such initiatives help bridge the gap between learners in rural schools and those in private schools.

Kamohelo Moeketsane in red t-shirt during introduction of coding and robotics.

“On March 23 we were closing the Coding and Robotics club until schools open for the second term on April 5.  Learners were disappointed as they were willing to continue learning.  This demonstrates their interest in learning and developing their technology skills,” Ratia explained.

Nkosana Kheswa from the Thabo Mofutsanyana Education Department (TMED) said the initiative is going to enhance learners’ IT, computer science and innovative technology skills.

“The programme has been implemented in the primary school phases so that learners can be equipped with critical coding and robotics skills at an early age, which will come in handy in the future.”

The implementation of this programme has been spearheaded by Professor Jean Greyling from the Nelson Mandela University of Technology.