ADDIS ABABA – Nearly 70 Ethiopian youth have successfully completed the Coding School in Addis Ababa, delivered by ThinkYoung and Boeing.
The students aged 10-17 were the first batch to attend the Coding School that the pair launched last week, in partnership with Ethiopian Airlines.
The initiative is designed to equip young individuals and teachers in Ethiopia with the necessary skills for better employment opportunities.
As part of the program, ThinkYoung and Boeing connected the students with the tech industry and aviation professionals and trained participants in programming, robotics, and drone technologies.
One of the alumni of the coding school, 11- year old Fikir Gedion said it was a fun experience of learning basic skills for coding.
“The program has enabled me to gain a better understanding and practical knowledge of programming, robotics, and drones,” Fikir said. “I had a lot of fun and would like to continue learning to code”.
The ThinkYoung Coding School was created in the summer of 2016 in Brussels at a time youth unemployment in Europe was at a record high despite 1 million vacant jobs in the IT industry. The problem was the lack of the required STEM skills sought after by the industry.
Similar challenges recently emerged in Africa as several startup hubs began to sprout across the continent. In Ethiopia, iCog-Lab, an Artificial Intelligence lab is running an “Anyone Can Code” initiative to teach children how to code and prepare them for future opportunities in tech.
In today’s tech-focused world, coding is just as important as writing or calculus, ThinkYoung states while explaining its effort to empower the youth globally.
Its Founder Andrea Gerosa said, “We were thrilled to partner with Boeing for the 20th edition of ThinkYoung Coding School,” in Ethiopia.
It is expected to be an important enabler in achieving Ethiopia’s goal of equipping 70% of its population with essential digital skills.
“Together with our partners, we can unlock Ethiopia’s true potential and solidify its current leadership position, while strengthening the African aviation industry for future generations,” said Kuljit Ghata-Aura, Boeing President in the Middle East and Africa.
The Coding Schools have also expanded to Kenya and Rwanda. About 600 African students have so far participated in the program, with around 200 of them in 2023. By design, more than 60% of them are girls.
By breaking stigmas, the program provides them with role models, early exposure to computer science, and a supportive environment, per the organisers.
“Combined, our joint programs have empowered over 1400 teenagers globally,” said Gerosa. “Our collaboration continues to grow.”