Fri | Jun 25, 2021

Pilot Coding in Schools programme launched, 20 institutions to benefit

Published:Sunday | May 9, 2021 | 3:45 PM
Minister of Education, Fayval Williams (left) and Head of Sales and Business Development at the Amber Innovations Group Limited, Floyd Garrett, sign a Memorandum of Understanding during the official launch of the pilot Coding in Schools programme at a virtual ceremony held on May 7, 2021 – Contributed photo.

The Ministry of Education has officially launched the pilot Coding in Schools programme.

The initiative, which involves a partnership with Amber Innovations Group Limited, will promote the teaching and learning of coding in public educational institutions across Jamaica.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the delivery of the programme was signed during a virtual ceremony on Friday between the Ministry and the Amber Group during the ceremony.

The pilot programme will be conducted across 20 schools, involving approximately 2,000 students in grades four and nine.

Among the objectives of the programme are the development of skills such as logical and critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, teamwork, and mathematics, and to instil confidence in students through coding.

Under the programme, classes in coding computer applications will be incorporated into the regular school curriculum.

The one-and-a-half-hour session will be held twice weekly for three months.

Classes, which are already under way, are being delivered using the online meeting software Zoom or Google Classroom.

The Amber Innovations Group Limited's online platform will also be used to teach coding to students, with instructor oversight.

Concepts will be practised through activities on the company's online web platform.

Portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, in her address at the launch, said that the Ministry is preparing students to adapt and compete in an increasingly interconnected and technology-driven world.

“To help our students adapt to these (rapid technological) changes we must continue to refresh our curriculum to ensure that the knowledge, skills, and values taught remain current and relevant. To this end, the MoU between the Ministry and the Amber Group is an important step in achieving that goal,” she said.

Head of Sales and Business Development, Amber Innovations Group Limited, Floyd Garrett, said the partnership will result in students being engaged in coding from as early as eight years old.

“The Amber Group is delighted and excited that we have another opportunity to expand and transform how coding is taught across the island and to realise the vision of making Jamaica the next Silicon Valley of this region,” he said.

In January, the Amber Group partnered with the HEART/NSTA Trust to introduce the Amber HEART Academy, which is currently training more than 50 coders, with another 50 students to commence training later this month.

Garrett said a progress report from the Academy indicates 70 per cent of students achieved 100 per cent on their most recent examinations in the first term.

“This is a clear indication of where the nation is heading. We at Amber are proud to be partners with the Ministry of Education in unveiling the second major milestone of our mission, which will see the genesis of the next generation of coders. We are truly excited about the possibilities ahead,” he said.

- JIS News

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