Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Microsoft Corp are partnering up to launch a three year programme called ‘Code for Change’. This programme is aimed at teaching 1.2 million Singaporeans coding at varying levels. 500,000 will be young students from lower primary to junior college and polytechnic level. The aim is to create a stream of coding knowledge and interest among the masses. Thus, creating a larger pool of coders to help usher in the Smart Nation initiative.
During the launch of ‘Code for Change’, 6-year-old Sophia Curic presents her experience with coding which started at the age of 4. She made an interactive story using programming language Scratch. Her humorous story, called the Automatic Bottom Spanker, shows the potential for youngsters to code.
“The opportunity now is to create a culture of experimentation in which students are both curious and confident when working with technology,” said IDA executive chairman Steve Leonard. Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Minister-in-Charge for the Singapore Smart Nation Programme Office, finds that these young and creative minds would create huge opportunities. He suggests that this will occur when they are equipped with the right skills, such as coding.
The ‘Code for Change’ program will introduce Singaporeans to specific coding languages and frameworks such as Kodu, Visual Basic, Project Spark and .Net. It is predicted that beginning to teach Singaporeans coding will bring a further edge to the nation’s Smart Nation progress.
Through a 2015 survey carried out in various countries within the Asia Pacific, Microsoft learned that students wished for more coding education within their curriculum. They found that 63% felt that coding helps respondents to better understand our digital world. 41% believe that coding skills would benefit their future career. Both genders hold high value in coding for their future job prospects. It is apparent from this survey that students in the Asian Pacific exemplify an interest in coding. They see it as integral to providing them opportunities in the future.
With the vision for a Smart Nation, comes a need for educated workers with computational thinking. A Smart Future requires coders to make applications that will help the Smart Nation operate efficiently and effectively for Singaporeans. The partnership with Microsoft creates a unique opportunity for Singaporeans of all levels to learn coding. The educators, learning resources, and tutorials that will be made available to the programme will feed a culture of experimentation and newfound confidence in working with technology.