Schools are invited to register their learners for this year’s South African Applications Olympiad, now with both Basic and Open divisions for all levels of skill

The South African Computer Olympiad has introduced a Basic version of the Applications Olympiad for schools, to give learners at all levels an opportunity to participate.

The Computer Olympiad, sponsored by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) is one of the biggest and oldest competitions of its kind in the world. It has been staged since 1983 to identify, encourage and reward computer aptitude, promote and encourage computer studies and create an awareness of career opportunities in ICT.

Olympiad manager Michael Cameron, says: “The goal of this Olympiad is to encourage young South Africans to stretch their computer confidence, using what they have learned to do what they may not have been taught. We provide a comprehensive Solutions Guide that is popular with teachers to show learners different ways to solve each problem.”

“IITPSA regards the Computer Olympiad as a key initiative to help encourage an interest in ICT among learners, and so help address South Africa’s ICT skills shortage in the future,” says IITPSA CEO Tony Parry. “By encouraging and rewarding ICT skills development, we hope to see more young South Africans opting to embark on careers in ICT.”

The Applications Olympiad is a challenge for learners of all ages who take CAT or the ICDL or are otherwise computer literate.

The new Basic level has been introduced to encourage first-time participants, and to motivate learners who have some computer literacy irrespective of grade. It will cover Word processing, spreadsheets (Excel) and presentations (PowerPoint), and will suit those who are not familiar with databases.

Confident learners may choose to take part in the original Open division of the Applications Olympiad, which includes database questions using Access. The participants have to solve a number of problems using a common office package and the data provided. Contestants are allowed to use the application of their choice, such as the Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Database and Presentation Tool. Most participants will use a popular office package such as Microsoft Office, Open Office or Libre Office. Only the Open division can lead to the Second Round and the Finals of the challenge.

The Applications Olympiad is available in English and Afrikaans and participation is free. The Olympiad will run for the week of 2-6 March, and participating schools will choose a preferred day and time.  Schools with reliable internet may participate online. However, internet is not a requirement – just a computer per learner – and the teacher downloads the question paper and data files. For offline participants, marking the short answers is quick and easy.

Participants must register through their schools. To register, go to or call 021 448 7864 / 021 447 8450 for an application form.

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