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Thursday, 20 June 2019


Orange Sierra Leone and DSTI (The Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation) have partnered to create an initiative that could change the lives of many in Sierra Leone. At the end of last month, I was invited to the launch of 'The first free Coding School' here in Freetown Sierra Leone. As we move into the digital realm that is becoming mainstream at a fast rate across the spectrum in multiple industries, Aminata Kane Ndiaye the CEO of Orange and Dr. Moinina David Sengeh of DSTI explained the process and intentions behind the scheme. “It is important that Sierra Leone is no longer left behind in the changes that require new skills”. Orange have already set up three coding schools on the continent in Senegal, Tunisia and Niger making Sierra Leone the fourth in Africa.

“We want to see Salone be at the digital forefront.” Said the CEO of Orange as she expressed why it is important to learn the transferrable skill set coding has to offer. The aim is to create an enabling environment for their target audience, which are the youth. More professionals are needed in this field of work, especially in West Africa. The first free coding school will be located in Freetown with the hopes of later expanding to the provinces. Ndiaye stressed that in the future “Languages will not be enough, you need to learn how to code”. 

Where? The innovation hub (fifth floor) at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM)

The two divisions Orange and DSTI have been working closely with the VP of IPAM, Dr Edmond Nonie on this project. As the professor kindly provided the location for the new innovation hub. All three institutions have come together to collaborate on the common grounds of intentionally supporting an ecosystem that creates and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. With the innovation hub, students of the free coding school will be exposed to many attributes that a linked to coding. E.g How Artificial Intelligence works, 3D printing etc. At the moment in Sierra Leone, Njala University is the institution known for Computer Science courses, however this partnership expands that. The aim is for Sierra Leone to be known for it's digital transformation and Innovation in the years to come. Before the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between The DSTI Chief Innovation Officer, Dr Moinina David Sengeh and the CEO of Orange. Aminata Kane Ndiaye emphasised on the importance of the private sectors having to lead when it comes to innovation in order to move ahead and why we need the skill sets here (coding) on the grounds instead of importing them. She went on to explain there will also be ‘Super coder classes’ for children to get engaged and understand the value of coding through games and why we must ‘catch them while they are young' before ending with the honest truth of the matter that ; “Coding is a matter of survival.”

This is an initiative that could not have come at a better time. Not only is the coding school free, it will give individuals the opportunity to learn new and vital skills. Most importantly it will create job opportunity for Sierra Leoneans that have acquired the coding skills that the free school has to offer.

How do I apply?

The school will open at the end of the year, for updates on how to apply check Orange and DSTIs respected websites.

This is a sponsored post.

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