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Credit: Bangkok Post

Credit: Bangkok Post

Coding Thailand to advocate digital technology and computer science among Thai youth

An announcement made by the Bangkok Post highlighted Coding Thailand, an initiative of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), in collaboration with the private sectors, which aims to encourage the youth of Thailand to develop computational thinking skills.

The “Coding Thailand” project was introduced by DEPA to inspire the youth of Thailand to develop computational thinking skills.

A collaboration between DEPA, an agency under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), and the private sector, this project aims to reach more than 10 million people within three years.

The main principle of Coding Thailand is that any medium can be used as a learning tool for the youth. According to MDES Minister Pichet Durongkaveroj, devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets or any other smart device can be used to reach the ultimate goal, which is to educate Thais.

The MDES has assigned DEPA to implement Coding Thailand as an online learning platform to promote digital technologies and computer science, as well as to instil systematic thinking in Thais.

The aforementioned elements are vital for the development of a digital workforce, which is needed to drive Thailand's digital economy and society especially since there is a shortage of data scientists and cybersecurity experts in Thailand. Hence, Coding Thailand is considered as a means of tackling that issue, albeit in the long-term.

Social media can be harnessed to bolster the project since Thailand leads in social media consumption, with people using related platforms with an average of five hours a day. He said, "The mobile subscription rate in Thailand is now 182%, with internet penetration at 68%.”

Coding Thailand will entail setting up a computer-science knowledge centre that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. With access to CodingThailand.org, the long-term goal is to not just help Thais keep pace with ever-evolving technologies, but develop innovations of their own.

Moreover, the target of the initiative is to reduce social, educational and economic gaps. "Coding Thailand will open up a new dimension of learning, as it encourages analytical thinking, problem-solving skills and creativity. All of these elements are essential for every occupation. They are also the foundation for pursuing advanced digital skills,” he added.

Code.org President Ms Alice Steinglass said computational thinking and computer sciences are foundational to education in the 21st century as these skills will prepare students throughout Thailand to not only use apps and websites, but also to create the apps and websites of the future.

Code.org's curriculum and resources are available free of charge to teachers and students. This endeavour resulted to having more than 25 million students and 800,000 teachers from over 180 countries enrolled in the courses. Reach has been wide since the courses are available in over 50 languages.

Microsoft Thailand and DEPA worked together in order to localise the content for Thailand. DEPA President Dr Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin explained that Coding Thailand created as an online learning platform in partnership with Code.org, a non-profit organisation serving as the world's leading computer science learning centre.

Dr Nuttapon said that initially, the coding programme will be conducted to 5,000 schools in the DEPA network.

Private sector players who have contributed to the project are Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Aksorn Education among others.

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