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ADEC and Google to train 250,000 students to code

CS First program will provide training to public and private school students in Abu Dhabi

ADEC and Google to train 250,000 students to code
CS First is intended to give students a grounding in code development.

The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Google have announced a new program which will train up to a quarter of a million public and private school students in computer programming skills.

The Computer Science (CS) First program, created by Google, is intended to give students in Abu Dhabi access to training in programming skills. The program is supported with training and capacity building for all Abu Dhabi ICT teachers and after-school coding clubs.

The program was initially offered to 30,000 students on September 2015 in grades 4, 5 and 9 across public schools, and will be offered to the rest of the public and private school students in other grades within two years.

The launch was attended by HE Dr Ahmed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Secretary-General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council; HE Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, Chairman of the Health Authority Abu Dhabi and member of the Executive Council who inaugurated the event; HE Saeed Eid Al Ghafli. Chairman of Department of Municipal Affairs and member of the Executive Council; HE Rashed Laheq Al Mansoori, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Center (ADSIC); HE Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Mohamad Mourad, Regional Director for Google MENA alongside important dignitaries from both ADEC and Google.

The intensive course will be embedded in the classroom equipping students with the basics of ‘Scratch', a student-friendly programming language that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed. By learning to program with Scratch, students will learn to think productively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. 

These skills contribute to developing learners and knowledge creators across platforms, a key long-term growth engine expanding Abu Dhabi's internet ecosystem, while building a future talent pool to drive Abu Dhabi's innovative development.

"ADEC's strategic collaboration with one of the world's leading technology companies, Google, is part of delivering one of ADEC's major innovation ecosystem initiatives ‘Programming for Life' which coincides with the Council's desire to offer quality education to students in all schools in Abu Dhabi. Both public and private school students are being offered the opportunity to learn one of the world's newest and most important innovation skills - computer programming.  This will not only enhance their exploration and creativity skills, but will also provide endless opportunities to question, explore and re-explore," said Dr Al Khaili.

Mohamad Mourad, Regional Director for Google MENA added: "Coding skills and computer science are at the very core of Google. They are a gateway to innovation in numerous fields from architecture to zoology, from medicine to the music industry. Computer programming has become a realm for creativity and innovative ideas. We believe that the UAE youth can be a part of this."

HE Excellency Rashid Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General at ADSIC said: "We are very pleased to be part of this impactful educational initiative and a key component in its implementation in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, in our capacity as the Government entity responsible for the UAE capital's ICT agenda and e-transformation efforts. ADSIC continually seeks to reinforce its active role in developing the skill sets of Emirati youth by providing them with effective knowledge and learning opportunities that would enable them to enter the ICT job market and boost their competitive advantage, based on world-class education levels and best practices."

Al Mansoori added: "In recent years, ADSIC has successfully managed to reach various segments of Abu Dhabi's society through the Centre's carefully designed programs such as e-citizen, which aims to decrease the digital divide and spread a modern e-lifestyle in line with the nature of life in the 21st century, and we believe that our role in this important educational program will visibly support these efforts."

In planning for this program, ADEC and Google co-led and delivered a mass capacity-building training program for all Abu Dhabi ICT public school teachers in August 2015, training and certifying them on the CS First program. The training produced by Google experts is a step-change in enhancing Abu Dhabi's ICT teacher workforce via modern computer programming skills. The training program will be offered to ICT teachers across private schools.

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