After a successful launch last year of the goIT Challenge in South Africa, Tata Consultancy Services and STEAM education specialist, Sakhikamva Foundation have brought together 455 learners from nine high schools to participate in the worldwide school’s technology programme. Students were tasked with coming up with app ideas to solve real-world problems in their own communities, and six finalist teams had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the judges on 5 May.
The six 2021 SA goIT Challenge finalists were:
- WO-MEN created by Sinenjongo High School team – an app promoting gender equality and the acceptance of gender diversity which includes a conversation platform to highlight the impacts of gender inequality
- ‘Hope Away from Home’ created by Get Ahead College team – an app aligned to the #zerohungerworld Sustainable Development Goal that enables small food donations in one’s own neighbourhood
- EVOLVE created by Goodwood College team – an app offering physical workouts, healthy eating regimes and positive mindset texts to enable people in under-resourced communities to benefit from healthy body and mind education and support
- W.A.S.H. created by another Goodwood College team – an app to connect people in rural and homeless communities with nearby sources of clean drinking water and sanitation facilities
- ‘Building Confidence Lifestyle’ created by Modderdam High team – an app to help users improve self-image, self-esteem and self-motivation so that people in under-resourced communities are more empowered to live healthy and successful lives
- ‘Study Room’ created by Valhalla High team – an app that provides educational video resources to help boost learning among young people who are struggling to access classroom learning
Founder of Sakhikamva Foundation, Fatima Jakoet says, “What we have seen in this second SA goIT Challenge is young people expressing their abilities to be problem-solvers who can contribute to a better world. Participants had no trouble identifying real challenges that they experience and see in their communities, and then align these to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They got the opportunity to grapple with how technology offers the world opportunities to solve these problems in innovative ways that can also be brought to scale through tech platforms. The goIT Challenge gave them a rare opportunity to build their 21st Century skills, and it was wonderful to see how much they relished this and rose to the occasion.”
The SA winners of the 2021 goIT Challenge are:
First Place: WO-MEN app created by the Sinenjongo High School team (each team member received a tablet)
Second Place: W.A.S.H. app team from Goodwood College (each team member received a drone)
Third Place: EVOLVE app team from Goodwood College (each team member received a robotics kit)
Over more than a decade, the TCS goIT Challenge has been rolled out in North and South America, Asia, Australia, the UK and Europe. In 2020, TCS expanded this footprint by bringing the innovative 21st Century learning programme to South Africa. Nikhil Dabhole, HR Head of TCS South Africa says, “We congratulate this year’s winners of the goIT Challenge and commend the finalists and all other participants. As an IT service provider, we are committed to providing opportunities for schools to bring their learners, educators, and school communities together in an exciting and relevant tech education programme. The goIT Challenge is a way to strengthen communities today, by empowering their own digital innovators of tomorrow. These participants are building their skills to contribute to the workforce of the future, and engaging with tech is vital to their education.”
South Africa lags significantly in bringing a coding and robotics curriculum to schools, which means that a generation of our children is falling behind in developing the skills most needed by the changing 4IR world. The goIT Challenge brings tech to the forefront in schools and gives SA children a hands-on experience of how innovation can solve real-world problems.