Astron Energy and Cape Town Science Centre take coding to schools
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Coding has been made a part of the 2021 school curriculum. Earlier this year, the Department of Basic Education announced that coding and robotics would be introduced at 54 schools nationally as part of a piloting project across multiple grades. Coding and robotics are aimed at preparing learners to function in a digital and information-driven world.
Astron Energy has supported the Cape Town Science Centre (CTSC) for the last seven years through funding for teacher training and learner tuition programmes as part of the Astron Energy Schools Programme, which now also features the Code on the Road outreach. The Astron Energy Schools Programme also includes Matric Master classes and physical science tutoring sessions.
As part of Code on the Road, the Science Centre visits select schools and helps instil sound coding practices and foundations as part of an “enrichment” support to the formal coding syllabus.
The Astron Energy Schools Programme supports a total of 20 schools (10 primary schools, 10 high schools) in the Western Cape Education Department Metro North district, including communities surrounding the Astron Energy refinery in Milnerton.
Astron Energy is South Africa's #2 petroleum company with a network of over 850 Caltex-branded service stations in South Africa and operates the refinery in Cape Town, the third-largest refinery in South Africa.
Julie Cleverdon, Director of the Cape Town Science Centre, said Code on the Road was a unique outreach programme which is supported by the Western Cape Department of Education.
Instructors from the Science Centre visit the schools to conduct a full course with various grades over a total of four sessions to make learners confident with the basics of coding. Where needed, the Science Centre supplies all the necessary equipment such as laptops and data projectors so that each learner can enjoy the magic of coding in a safe and socially distanced environment.
“Code on the Road is a unique initiative to not only bring the magic and enjoyment of coding to life but also to instil the basics of coding and in so doing laying a good foundation for learners in this medium,” Cleverdon said. “The programme adds enrichment and makes coding relevant and accessible.”
Astron Energy Head of Corporate Affairs Jill Koopman said: “With our refinery located in the heart of Milnerton and surrounded by a large number of primary and secondary schools, the partnership with the Cape Town Science Centre is great way to be able to encourage and teach key subjects like science and now coding.
“Coding and robotics are the way of the future and it is important that we instil a love for this and support our learners,” Koopman said. “This is even more critical during the pandemic and we are thrilled that through the CTSC we have been able to continue to reach and teach learners in a safe and responsible way.”
The Astron Energy Schools Programme physical science tutoring sessions include comprehensive study notes, demonstrations and videos, as well as online science classes which include curriculum-aligned workshops, using experimental science kits delivered to schools.