Coding and Robotics education: providing the skills to succeed in a digitised world

It was not too long ago that people in the workforce, across industries, feared mass job losses brought on by emerging technologies. However, as time went by and technology became more widely understood, it became evident that these emerging technologies were offering an opportunity for future employment instead. The Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum estimates that about 65% of children starting primary school today will end up working in a job that does not currently exist. In addition, many of the jobs that will continue to exist will become more and more integrated with technology, requiring a foundation in basic digital skills.

Preparing learners for the future

The learners in our classrooms today will become the workforce of tomorrow and they need to be prepared. However, it’s not only about the working world but also about equipping future generations with the skills needed to exist as responsible digital citizens. It’s therefore critical that schools keep up with this rapidly changing environment, by including curricula focused on technology.

Deploying a new curriculum

In 2019, the Department of Basic Education announced the introduction of the new Coding and Robotics Grade R–9 curriculum. In a statement at the time, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, said: ‘The curricula will ensure that our schooling system produces learners with the foundations for future work, and equip them with skills for the changing world.’ She further explained that ‘our world relies on technology. People with tech-related skills have more options to be successful and shape their future instead of being passive consumers of technology.’ The specific aims of the curriculum include functioning in a digital and information-driven world, applying digital and ICT skills, and equipping learners for successful living in a rapidly changing and transforming society.

This new curriculum comes at a time when talent in tech across Africa is at an all-time high. The e-Conomy Africa 2020 report states that there are nearly 700 000 professional developers across the African continent. By comparison, California in the United States of America has about 630 000 developers. It’s clear that to remain competitive in an increasingly globalised job market and survive in a digital-first future, learners in South Africa must receive training in tech-related subjects to develop digital skills. However, the implementation of these subjects will determine their success.

The challenges

Despite its many benefits, tech-related subjects such as Coding and Robotics pose many challenges, especially in an inequitable environment like South Africa. Various education stakeholders have expressed valid concerns about the new curriculum, of which two of the biggest concerns raised are access to costly technology and adequate teacher development.

Shuter and Shooter Publishers partnered with Mauritz Kotzé from SchoolCoding South Africa to develop a product that could encourage parents, learners, and teachers to tap into these benefits whilst addressing the challenges. Shuter’s commitment to serving the educational needs of a changing southern Africa, coupled with Kotzé’s passion for coding education, led to the Top Class Digital Skills Grade R–3 workbooks and teacher guides. 

Making quality Coding and Robotics education achievable

The first challenge facing the roll-out of the curriculum is related to accessing costly technology, such as software and devices. This is perhaps the most pertinent challenge. If not addressed, there’s a risk that the disparities between well-resourced and under-resourced schools will continue to grow. Additionally, schools may avoid implementing the curriculum for fear of the cost implications.

One way of preventing this is to offer low-tech, cost-effective classroom solutions for Coding and Robotics, such as those found in the Top Class Digital Skills series. One of the key principles that underpin the series is accessibility. Kotzé’s vast experience in facilitating coding clubs across a wide range of South African schools have given him the insight needed to develop unique activities that can be used in various contexts. Throughout the series, learners are encouraged to actively participate in activities that require only readily available and affordable objects, for example, crafting robots from cotton reels or cereal boxes. Learners develop an understanding of the principles of computational thinking and the engineering design process, without the burden of expensive devices and software.

In South Africa, 70% of schools are low-fees or no-fees schools. This low-tech approach helps schools cover the work set out in the curriculum without excluding learners from low-income backgrounds. All learners deserve to learn Coding and Robotics in a fun and relevant way and access to resources, or a lack thereof, should not determine whether learners gain essential digital skills. Quality Coding and Robotics education is achievable by focusing on developing low-tech solutions.

The second challenge is teacher development. With numeracy and literacy competence at the primary school-level being problematic, it’s no wonder that many stakeholders are concerned about adding another subject to the teachers’ load. Most teachers also have little to no prior experience with Coding and Robotics. For many, teaching this subject is a daunting prospect.

The Department of Basic Education aims to overcome this by providing country-wide Coding and Robotics teacher training. However, this will be only the first step in ensuring meaningful learning in the classroom. Support and the correct products will be vital if teachers are to succeed at teaching new curriculum. Teachers will require resources that provide detailed, accurate, and simple-to-use explanations and answers. Shuter’s thoughtfully developed the Top Class Digital Skills series with this in mind. The teacher guides will be especially helpful to teachers who have a limited knowledge of Coding and Robotics.

Ensuring success for all learners

As the world becomes more and more fused with technology, the onus is on the education system to prepare learners to harness the potential it offers. Coding and Robotics is not simply about learning to code or building a robot. Instead, it provides the basic skills necessary to live and work in a digitised world.

As Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation, says: ‘Code has become the fourth literacy. Everyone needs to know how our digital world works, not just engineers.’ The only way to guarantee that all learners are ready for this future is by offering low-tech solutions that can be used in every school in South Africa and providing teachers with the support needed to teach effectively.

Digital Skills textbooks to help teach Coding and Robotics!

Shuter & Shooter Publishers is proud to announce that it will soon be releasing its Top Class Digital Skills series. This is an up-to-date and easy to follow learning programme that is compatible with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). These workbooks help to teach basic digital skills so that learners can get to grips with computing. Written by subject experts, with over 15 years’ experience in teaching digital skills to South African learners, this series is educationally sound and filled with innovative content. There is a strong focus on introducing learners to both *Coding and *Robotics, preparing them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Top Class Digital Skills Series will be available for Grades R to 9. We will launch Grades R,1,2 and 3 in  the second quarter of 2020 with the remaining grades following thereafter. For more information or for pre-ordering please contact our customer services department on 033 846 8721 or email

Shuter and Shooter Publishers announces new ownership structure

Shuter and Shooter Publishers (Pty) Ltd, a proudly South African Company and BBBEE Level II contributor, is pleased to announce a landmark transaction with Zungu Investments Company (Pty) Ltd an existing shareholder in the Company. The acquisition translates into Shuters becoming one of the largest 100% black-owned educational publishers in South Africa.

Mr Sandile Zungu Addresses Media and the staff at Shuters

Mr Sandile Zungu Addresses Media and the staff at Shuters

About Shuter and Shooter Publishers

Shuters is a leading publisher in the South African schools sector. Established as a bookshop almost 100 years ago, the Company began publishing isiZulu novels, poetry and textbooks from the early 1930’s. Since then, they have successfully produced quality literature and educational materials in most of the South African official languages, as well as for the National Department of Basic Education’s school curriculum (CAPS).

Shuters has over 950 CAPS-approved titles that appear on the nationally approved textbook catalogue. In addition, they host an extensive range of supplementary educational materials for South African schools and libraries. They have also invested in developing e-learning materials, keeping abreast of technology in education.

In 2016, Shuters launched the Shuters Academy, which is an Education, Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA) accredited training provider, and is also registered with SACE – enabling the Academy to issue teachers with Career Professional Training and Development (CPTD) points.

In 2017, the exciting new Study Guide series – Ace it! was launched. Ace it! is unique in that it focuses on the different learning styles, and includes study tips for each learning style to help learners excel in their year-end exams.

About Zungu Investments Company

Zungu Investments has been a deep-rooted, performance-driven investment holding company for almost two decades. They are a young, dynamic team of entrepreneurial professionals whose investment philosophy is guided by long-term partnerships. Through the solid foundations that the founder, Sandile Zungu has set out, they have affirmed themselves as an active leader in the investment arena.

Zungu Investments incorporates the notion of transformation across all business spheres. As a BBBEE Level I contributor, they aspire to make a significant impact on the lives of all South Africans, and in particular the youth and the previously disadvantaged.

Shuter and Shooter is now an accredited training provider!

We have recently been awarded accreditation by the Education Training and Development Practice Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA). This means that we now offer much sought after accredited training programmes in the education, training and development space. These include:

  • Conduct Outcomes Based Assessment: Unit Standard- 115753 (15 Credits)
  • Conduct Moderation of Outcomes Based Assessment: Unit Standard- 115759 (10 Credits)
  • Facilitate Learning Using a Variety of Given Methodologies: Unit Standard- 117871 (10 Credits)

In order to ensure that you get the best when you enrol to complete these learning programmes with us we guarantee you top class training by top class trainers who are well qualified and experienced in this field. Added to this we ensure that our post training support is second to none and that you will be assisted as far as possible in being declared competent.

What does this mean for you?

Besides using your newly developed skills and knowledge as assessors, moderators and or facilitators to enhance your daily practice in your career, we will also guide you on how to register with the ETDP SETA. Also remember that the credits obtained are all counted towards full qualifications in the education, training and development field.

If you would like to know more, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Telephone : +27 33 846 8700
Email :

Shuter & Shooter to partner with the Dlulisa Initiative

Mfundo Radebe

The Shuter & Shooter team met Mfundo Radebe for the first time in early 2017 when he was asked to be our brand ambassador for Ace it!, our new study guide series. We were instantly drawn in by his wide smile, his passion for education and his enthusiasm and willingness to change the status quo. Mfundo is a shining example of what the African child is capable of, and we are excited to share his story with South Africa and the world.

Through our conversations we learnt about the Dlulisa Initiative, an organisation founded by Mfundo to attempt to redress the imbalanced distribution of learning materials in the country’s poorest schools. With a long and proud history of 96 years as a producer and distributor of learning materials, Shuter & Shooter were impressed with Mfundo’s message and his vision.

Mfundo’s story is an inspiration to young South Africans from all walks of life: Unimpressed and unsatisfied with the educational opportunities offered in his area, Mfundo blazed a trail that has taken him all the way to Harvard University. As impressive as that is, what is really astonishing is that Mfundo has never forgotten where he comes from and that, at such a young age, he is determined to help in a tangible and logical way.

The South African educational landscape has travelled a long road in the 23 years since apartheid was finally abolished; however there is still a long way to go. Over 60% of South African children are vulnerable (this includes children in impoverished rural areas and townships, children from single parent and child-headed households and, in particular, girls in impoverished areas). Unfortunately, the cycle of poverty is perpetuated by the quality of schooling in impoverished areas. While improving the quality of education and schooling is a complicated process, access to quality educational resources is an important and sound foundation from where to start.

To this end, Shuter & Shooter is delighted to announce that they will be partnering with the Dlulisa Initiative to provide up to 30 schools with quality learning materials. This donation will allow the Dlulisa Initiative to move in and install sound learning practices in schools that need it most. The donation and the Dlulisa Initiative’s work will ensure that thousands of young learners have access to textbooks and readers, which will help to create learning environments conducive to learning.

As Mfundo knows well, education is a powerful springboard. It is our hope that, by investing in these learners, that they will seize the opportunity, as Mfundo did. We are proud that the Dlulisa Initiative recognises that Shuter & Shooter, as a proudly South African company, is a worthwhile education partner. Together, we will work towards accessible education for all South African learners.

– Warren Kliphuis

National Marketing Director

July 2017

New Book Release – Easy Cooking!

Easy Cooking book signing

easy-cooking-9781430600138Shoppers at Exclusive Books at Pietermaritzburg’s Liberty Mall were surprised by delicious treats at the book signing of our latest trade book, Easy Cooking by Nessie Naidoo.

This is a cookbook for all aspirant and seasoned cooks – it will even inspire the reluctant cook!

Nessie has developed a wonderful balance of easy, delicious meals in an incredibly practical, user-friendly book. We are all juggling many facets of our life, be it a career, studies, caring for our families and to have a book that takes all this into account is so very useful.

20161001_115922_redThe comments alongside each recipe make the book a personal experience, and the user almost feels as if Nessie is beside them in the kitchen, offering warm encouragement.

A unique feature of the book is Nessie’s ability to combine good comfort food with dishes that are more sophisticated – yet still within the parameters of the person who has to prepare the meals.

There are recipes gathered from her personal experiences around the world – a little something for everyone!

Try this delicious recipe for yourself!

To-do list for 2016

A very happy 2016 to all our Shuters family, customers and friends!

Now that the back-to-school rush is over, you must have been thinking about some goals and things you would like to achieve during the course of this brand-new year.

New Year’s resolutions often fail because they are either too ambitious or not realistic enough. Here is an alternative – a to-do list of things you can be mindful of this year.

  1. Spend more time having actual conversations with people rather than interacting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Build real relationships with the people around you.
  2. Plant a tree, shrub or bush in your garden, or a plant in a pot on your windowsill. Something fresh and green and alive to look at and to keep you grounded when you get stressed.
  3. Be grateful. At the end of each day, instead of thinking about the things that went wrong, try to focus on all the things that you can be grateful for.
  4. Laugh more. Laugh with others (not at them!).
  5. Take time out to play. There is a small child inside you that needs to be let out every so often. Play, be carefree and have fun.
  6. Be kind. Very often, the people around you are carrying burdens you know nothing about. Kindness to each other can help make those burdens a little lighter.

These are just a few items on our to-do list here at Shuters. Why not add to our list by posting your suggestions on our Facebook page?

Early Christmas Shopping

Christmas is just around the corner.

Be sure to visit to stock up on goodies for the little ones this Christmas.

The Farmyard Puzzle

Farm PuzzleChildren will have lots of fun learning about farm animals and farm life. Not is it enjoyable but educational too. They are able to practise visualisation, language and fine motor planning skills.

The Metal Cooking Set

Metal Cooking Play Set A set of durable metal pots, pans and utensils, which will provide children with endless fun as they play and “prepare” tasty food for the family.

The large Plastic Wild Animals set

Plastic Wild Animals (Large) Consists of six wild animals and a big play mat so that children can exercise their imagination while playing with these sturdy toys.

The Full Train Set

Full Train Set Consists of an oval 12-piece track, plastic locomotive, wagon and coach for hours of endless fun.

Wooden Cricket Set

Cricket Set For sports and outdoor enthusiasts, the wooden Cricket Set is a perfect gift. Children will have fun in the garden, playing cricket just like the Proteas!

Children’s Books

Hi, Zoleka Cover We also have some lovely children’s books. What about Hi, Zoleka, by South African icon Gcina Mhlope (with Elizabeth Pulles), which is available in English, Xhosa and Zulu. This charming book is aimed at children from three to seven years.

Lindakhil coverFor younger children between the ages of 0 to two there is This baby and is available in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa and Zulu.

Have you ever slurped strawberry soupThe award winning Have you slurped strawberry soup? by Nicole Levin (with Vian Oelofsen) is a firm favourite. Have a look at our earlier blog post on this title for more information.

Whatever you are looking for, you will be sure to find it at Shuters. For more information have a look at our website, or contact our friendly customer services department on 033 846 8721/22/23.

Holiday reads

It’s that time of year when you start thinking of those lazy summer days on school holiday. The perfect time to pick up a good book and let your imagination soar.

Here are some good holiday reads from Shuters you may enjoy.

Metjodi Ya Marakwaneng Metjodi Ya Marakwaneng, by K. P. D. Maphalla, is a feel-good Sesotho novel about a group of boys who get together to help the community by working as a team to build a swimming dam for everyone to use.

Hotwire Cover Hotwire, by Jay Heale is an English novel about the adventures of Ben and Tarif who love cars. They embark on a dangerous mission to get Ben’s mother’s car back from the mysterious mechanic.

Lindakhil cover Lindakhil’ilizwi Lakho, by M. G Mdliva is an isiXhosa novel that explores the power of the love that exists between a parent and a child.

Three Friends Cover Three Friends, , by Lesley Beake (with Minky Stapleton) is an English novel that deals with two best friends, Lindi and Thandile. Their friendship is disturbed when a strange new girl comes to the village and everything starts going wrong.

Ngizigwaze Ngowami Cover Ngizigwaze Ngowami, is an isiZulu novel by N. Mavundla. It relates the experiences and adventures of Princess Thokozile, who leaves her home to go and work in Johannesburg.

You can find these and many other cool books in your local library, or order them online from Alternatively, contact our Customer Services Department on 033-846 8721/22/23

Write a review of any of these novels and send them to us at by 16 January 2016, and you could stand to win a cool Shuters hamper.