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African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

For a Special Issue on

Computational thinking in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education: An African perspective

Abstract deadline
31 October 2023

Manuscript deadline
31 January 2025

Cover image - African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

Special Issue Editor(s)

Dr. Sfiso Cebolenkosi Mahlaba, University of Johannesburg
[email protected]

Prof. Umesh Ramnarain, University of Johannesburg
[email protected]

Dr. Ayodele Abosede Ogegbo, University of Johannesburg
[email protected]

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Computational thinking in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education: An African perspective

This Special Issue focuses on the application of computational thinking (CT) in teaching and learning within the context of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in Africa. CT as introduced by Wing (2006, p. 8) is “the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solution in a way that a computer - human or machine - can effectively carry out”. Recent definitions call for CT to be viewed as more about thinking than computing which involves “searching for ways of processing information that are always incrementally improvable in their efficiency, correctness, and elegance” (Li et al., 2020b, p. 4). The majority of people commonly perceive CT as akin to computing education, however, this assumption is erroneous since computing education primarily focuses on “how computers and computer systems work and how they are designed and programmed” (Berry, 2013, p. 4). Thus, computing education is a field of schooling in which learners can develop CT competencies.

As technology continues to increase in significance, its impact on education has become more pronounced, resulting in increased advocacy for the integration of technology-informed pedagogical approaches into STEM education. There has been a fast-growing global call for the incorporation of CT in education in STEM fields (Dolgopolovas & Dagienė, 2021; Kassa & Mekonnen, 2022; Li et al., 2020a). Furthermore, studies have called for research to investigate the incorporation of CT in teacher training courses to equip preservice teachers with the competence to incorporate CT in their practice (Grover & Pea, 2013). These calls have reached African countries, for example, in Ethiopia, Kassa and Mekonnen (2022) assessed how CT was integrated into Ethiopia’s secondary schools’ information and communications technology (ICT) curriculum. Similarly, in South Africa, Bradshaw and Milne (2022) investigated how nine core CT skills could be mapped to the Grades 10–12 mathematics curriculum using the objectives for each topic in the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). Ogegbo and Ramnarain (2022) investigated teachers’ perceptions and concerns about the integration of CT in science.

Robotics and coding are increasingly used in classrooms to implement activities aimed at fostering the development of students’ computational thinking (CT) skills (Chevalier et al., 2020).  The introduction of coding and robotics in school curricula in South Africa (Greyling, 2023), Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda (Tshukudu et al., 2023) and Namibia (Shipepe et al., 2022) further underscores the need to investigate the feasibility of incorporating CT in STEM education within African contexts. Although several studies have been conducted in different African countries, the concept of CT is still new in Africa, and there is a need to intensively research CT’s feasibility in African STEM education. The proposed Special Issue intends to contribute towards illuminating the feasibility of incorporating CT in African STEM education at the school and higher education levels through a compilation of papers on the application of CT in STEM education within the African context. The editors invite submissions on empirical research on this focus that address the following sub-themes:

  • Affordances of computational thinking for STEM education.
  • Continuous teacher professional development and pre-service teacher education for computational thinking in STEM education.
  • Pedagogical approaches to incorporating computational thinking in STEM classrooms.
  • Computational thinking through coding and robotics for STEM education.
  • Issues in the implementation of computational thinking in STEM classrooms in Africa.

The Editors

Dr Sfiso Mahlaba is a researcher and educator in the field of mathematics education, with a PhD on mathematical problem-solving. As a recipient of the National Research Foundation Thuthuka research grant, he is currently leading a research project on using multiple solution tasks to enhance preservice teachers' mathematical problem-solving skills. Dr Mahlaba’s publications, including articles and book chapters, are a testament to his expertise and commitment to advancing the field of mathematics education.  Overall, Dr Mahlaba’s work and achievements demonstrate his commitment to advancing mathematical education and his potential to continue making significant contributions to the field.

Umesh Ramnarain is a professor in science education, and head of department in science and technology education at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His main research interest is on inquiry-based science education, with a particular focus on its uptake in South African classrooms, where the unequal funding policies of the previous Apartheid education system have resulted in learning contexts that are complex and diverse. Professor Ramnarain makes such complexity an explicit and central organizing theme to his research as he systematically addresses a number of inherent and inextricable context-dependent factors as they pertain to South Africa and apply to similar contexts worldwide. His research has been published in top-tier journals in his discipline such as International Journal of Science Education, Research in Science Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, and Teaching and Teacher Education. He is associate editor of the Q1 journal, Research in Science Education, and has served on the editorial board of Journal of Research in Science Teaching.  He is currently B-rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

Ogegbo Ayodele Abosede is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Science and Technology Education (SciTechEd) at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her areas of expertise include inquiry based science education, and technology in education. She has published a number of journal articles.


The Special Issue will be undertaken with the usual submission and reviewing processes of the African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (AJRMSTE) and the usual length limits (7000 words maximum) with abstracts between 250–500 words maximum and style standards (see

The Special Issue Editors are seeking scholarly, empirical research articles that collectively report a variety of approaches to interventions focused on the incorporation of computational thinking in teaching and learning within the African context. They are inviting submission of research articles from a wide range of stakeholders involved in research around computational thinking in the teaching and learning of subjects within the STEM discipline. The Special Issue will include an analytical commentary paper by the Editors focused on the themes and patterns emerging from the findings of the smaller-scale studies, and the implications of these patterns for considering future interventions for supporting the incorporation of computational thinking in STEM education within the African context.

Submission Instructions

Expressions of Interest via submission of an extended abstract (2 pages words)

Your extended (2 pages) abstract should include:

  • Title of the paper, Author (s) Affiliation, and Key Words.
  • Research question (s)
  • Rationale for the paper
  • Mention of key literature
  • A brief explanation of the theoretical, conceptual or methodological framework directing the study.
  • Type of empirical evidence to be included to address the research question. findings / discussions.
  • Contribution of paper to domain knowledge and the implications of the research.

Email extended abstracts to Dr Sfiso Mahlaba on [email protected].


This Special Issue of AJRMSTE will be published in April 2025.

Please email [email protected] if there are any questions about submissions.

01 July 2023:              Call for papers (AJRMSTE + SAARMSTE websites).

October 2023:             Submission of extended (2 pages) abstracts.

November 2023:         Editors will have considered the suitability of abstracts and invite accepted authors to submit a full paper.

April 2024:                 Due date for submission of paper.

July 2024:                   First feedback to authors.

September 2024:         Revised manuscript 1 from authors.

November 2024:         Second feedback to authors.

January 2025:             Revised manuscript 2 from authors.

April 2025:                 Publication of the Special Issue.

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