South Africa’s annual Computer Applications Olympiad has been extended by a week to allow time for more learners to participate.

The Olympiad, a challenge for those who take CAT or the ICDL or are otherwise computer literate, is a project of the Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) to encourage the development of ICT skills in learners.

The week-long first round of the Olympiad, which began nationwide on 17 May, has now been extended to a second week, to accommodate alternating day class rotations in schools and the increased pressures on schools brought about by the latest COVID-19 surge.

The event sees thousands of learners from over 200 schools nationwide participating. Due to amended teaching schedules, many schools participating in this year’s Olympiad are opting to write the challenge before or after normal school hours, say the organisers. The Olympiad is open until 6 PM daily and will now remain open until Friday 28 May.

The BASIC division includes Word, Excel and Presentations while the OPEN division also has Access database questions. Learners use these computer applications to grow problem solving skills. The Olympiad aims to help encourage and equip learners for study and work.

According to IITPSA Business Development Manager, Kelvin Nhlapo “Each year thousands of learners from Grade 6 to Grade 12 take part. Colour printed certificates are sent to schools for the top 50% of participants nationwide. This proof of talent can be useful when applying for bursaries or further study opportunities.”

Schools that have not yet entered now have an extended opportunity to register and participate – online or offline, and for free. The Applications webpage on allows teachers to register the number of learners per grade.