Photo - Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth and Sports, Malaysia.
Technology solutions firm Microsoft Malaysia has launched a Code for Malaysia campaign from April 19 to 27 April as part of a regional campaign inspired by Code.org to encourage students to take up computer science careers.
Microsoft Malaysia managing director Carlos Lacerda said the Hour of Code campaign, which was initially spearheaded by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher, Shakira, is being brought to Malaysia and other parts of Asia during the Asia Pacific Week of Code [April 21 to 27].
The Code for Malaysia campaign will start from 19 April to 27 April, said Lacerda, and involves local celebrities such as actress Sazlini Shamsul Falak, national youth icon Michael Teoh and beauty pageant title holder Deborah Henry together with Microsoft and three higher learning institutions nationwide to introduce coding to students of all ages - ranging from primary to university students.
"By 2020, there will be 1.2 million computer science jobs available worldwide with only 400 thousand students learning to code," he said. "There is a great opportunity to be filled against a backdrop of a highly competitive workplace. It is therefore imperative that young people understand computer science and basic programming as those skills are the foundation for many jobs today as well as the future."
National youth icon Michael Teoh said: "People generally think of coding as some sort of foreign high-tech language which can only be understood by nerds and geeks. This couldn't be further from the truth. Not only is coding available to all, it is also surprisingly fun! This is essentially what the Hour of Code is - making coding relatable and enjoyable for young people."
Computer programming to 10 million students
Microsoft Asia Pacific president Cesar Cernuda said Code.org's 'Hour of Code' would introduce computer programming to 10 million students and encourage them to learn programming.
It is a one-hour basic introduction to Computer Science, designed to demystify "code" and prove that anyone can learn the fundamentals of computer programming. T
The Asia Pacific Week of Code extends the 'Hour of Code' by dedicating an entire week designated across the Asia Pacific region to encourage people, particularly young people, to hold basic coding training or hold a hack-a-thon in schools, community centers, universities - basically anywhere.
"The Week of Code will be a great and fun week when people can either celebrate their coding skills or take their first step towards learning to code by doing one of the interactive coding courses provided by Microsoft and Code.org," said Cernuda.
The campaign, with the catch phrase 'We Speak Code', aims to give millions of people from all over the region a taste of what coding is, demonstrate how accessible learning coding can be, and create interest in expanded programming and computer science courses and activities in schools.
"By focusing on one simple, achievable campaign - Code for Malaysia - and tying it to the younger generation's innate love of gadgets and apps, we hope to channel the energy of youth into a loud demand for more resources, education and skills training in coding, which we hope will empower these young people with the 21st century skills they need to face a very competitive global workforce," said Microsoft Malaysia's Lacerda.
Government support for Code for Malaysia
Malaysia's Youth and Sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin, said, "The Government is committed to supporting training programs that grant youth the necessary skills required to face the challenges of a competitive global workforce. This role is not exclusively the Government's but also a shared responsibility with the private sector and other key stakeholders. We are glad that Microsoft has taken the initiative to produce Code for Malaysia as it supports the Government's push towards an innovation economy."
According to the Global Employment Trends 2014 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), youth unemployment remains a major challenge in Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia. In 2013, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Malaysia was slightly above 11 percent, which was almost four times that of the total unemployment rate, and even more alarming, nearly eight times that of the adult unemployment rate. Comparing Malaysia's figures to that of the region,
Malaysia's youth-to-adult unemployment ratio in 2013 was almost 8:1, whereas the region's average was approximately 5:1. The report summarizes that given the young demographic profile of many of the countries in the region, equipping youth with education and skills to obtain productive jobs are likely to remain key policy concerns for many governments.
Beginning 19 April, Microsoft Malaysia will be hosting a range of activities and events across the nation in collaboration with local partners to celebrate Code for Malaysia. Students are invited to participate in the educational institutions listed below and to take advantage of tutorials, lessons and mentoring programs which will be provided during this period. Interested students are encouraged to register at http://aka.ms/codeformalaysia. Code for Malaysia kicks off promptly at 9am for all locations below:-
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