Computer Programming Olympiad

Computer Programming Olympiad


PROGRAMMING: The South African Programming Olympiad is one of the oldest and biggest coding events of its kind in the world. It started in 1984 when it became a project of the Institute of IT Professionals South Africa (then known as the Computer Society of SA). It is the only programming competition nationally. In 2017 there were 6 708 entries from 228 schools, but relatively few from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Entry requirements

Learners must know how to code / write computer programs. While selected learners can be entered by their schools, it is more beneficial if entire classes are entered. Only by entering an entire IT class will teachers be able to make full use of the Teachers Guide issued after the event.


South African Computer Olympiad Trust.


The Programming Olympiad challenges learners to use what they have learned in ways they may never have been taught.


Learners who can write computer programs / code in any computer language.

How it works

Schools select to take part online or offline (or both). Schools select English or Afrikaans (or both). In the case of online participation, the Computer Olympiad office will send the required number of logins for the number of learners entered. The Olympiad computers do the marking (no marking for the teacher) and the results are sent to schools. Pen-and-paper answer sheets are marked by the teacher (easy - just one word or one number answers) and the results are sent to the Computer Olympiad office to add to the national results.


Entry is free. To encourage all schools to enter, there is no entry fee. The Trust works closely with partners and volunteers to provide the support, backing and energy to deliver this service.


Gold, silver and bronze certificates issued in the name of learners, are sent to schools for learners who achieve in the top 50% of their age group nationally.

Competition timelines

One week in August, a day for Round 2 in September and the Finals over a weekend early in October The top four are sponsored to attend the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) the next year.

Geographical Footprint

All nine provinces of South Africa.

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