Last year I was privileged to take part in the Global Code program in Ghana. Global Code aims to bring practical, professional software engineering skills to students in Ghana, though a three week summer school.
Their goal is to build the technology ecosystem within Ghana, hiring the best students, training them further, and bringing them back as tutors in the following years.
This was their third successive year, hosting 125 students from across Ghana, at five of the public universities in Ghana – University of Ghana, Cape Coast University, Ho Technical University, Koforidua Technical University, and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
In Ghana secondary education has been free since September 2017, however economic necessity forces children to drop out of school in search of work, and girls are often charged with looking after younger siblings and helping with domestic work. The invitations to the program were gender balanced, but with much higher drop out rates for the female attendees, there will still be much work to do on this front.
Every student received a Raspberry Pi, and throughout the weeks covered Linux, Git, Python, electronics, IoT and Web APIs, and finish with a week-long group project.
The aim was to try and open the students up to some more commercial-focused skills in ways they had not experienced before – not just technology but also problem solving and collaboration.
Internet speeds meant we had to rely on our memory cells over Google somewhat more than I was used to, a continued reminder of just one of the many barriers faced.
Some students already had plenty of experience building software of some form – for others, it was a brand-new experience – but it was great to see the students come together to share their knowledge and problem solve.
A big shout out to all the students, volunteers, university staff & the Global Code team for making it all happen.