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Google and IMDA Join Efforts to Provide Free Coding Classes

Code in the Community CITC Programme

In an effort to build and grow the next generation of Singaporeans to be equipped with the relevant and key digital skills, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is working together with Google on the latter’s existing Code in the Community (CITC) programme.

CITC is a coding program that is focused on providing free and multi-level coding classes to students living in difficult situations. This programme is the only one in Singapore that offers such classes.

This Google-supported initiative is now looking to grow its reach to 6,700 more students. These students are expected to benefit from a wider range of free coding classes over the next three years.

Both IMDA and Google have contributed S$1 million each to further growing the initiative that has had provided basic coding classes to about 2,300 students from low-income backgrounds, since 2017.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced this initiative on Saturday (Jan 4), at a graduation ceremony for students who completed the programme in 2019, held at Our Tampines Hub.

Presently, CITC provides a Foundational programme for learning the Scratch coding language to students between the ages of 8 to 12, and a Python coding language for those between the ages of 13 and 16. These are skills that are extensively used in the technology space.

The new addition of free coding classes will see graduates of the Foundational programme moving ahead to a new Applications programme that consists of more complex concepts and encourage students to apply their newly acquired knowledge in hands-on activities such as programming a robot.

Both the Foundational and Applications programmes are made up of 16 hours of classes which are spread across eight weeks.

Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President of Google, said that this is an exciting venture towards “supporting a more inclusive digital society”.

“By providing grant funding to Code in the Community, we want to empower all kids in Singapore to discover and explore technology,” he said.

Mr Heng said that the CITC programme has created a significant and growing interest in technology amongst the students who are a part of the programme.

“The programme has not only sparked an abiding interest in technology among many of its participants, but also helped them gain confidence in problem solving, taught them not to be afraid of failure, enabled them to discover the joy of learning, and helped them gain concrete skills to work towards goals, and eventually, fulfil their dreams,” he said.

He added that as part of the Smart Nation movement, it is about creating a digital society where everyone is involved and growing with technology.

In July last year, the government had announced a new pilot basic coding programme for all upper primary school students to undertake.

This programme is set to be piloted this year. Students are required to take part in a 10-hour programme in school where they will be taught on computational thinking through basic coding.

The scope of the programme includes covering areas such as AI. These are a part of the government’s efforts for Singaporeans of all ages to develop the necessary skills and attributes to be able to survive and grow in the digital age.

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