Depa eyes Coding Thailand sea change

Depa eyes Coding Thailand sea change

Project eyed to bolster digital workforce

Mr Pichet and Ms Steinglass watch as students demonstrate the project, which is intended to promote digital technologies and computer science literacy among the nation's youth.
Mr Pichet and Ms Steinglass watch as students demonstrate the project, which is intended to promote digital technologies and computer science literacy among the nation's youth.

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa), part of the Digital Economy and Society (DE) Ministry, has introduced the "Coding Thailand" project in collaboration with the private sector to encourage Thai youths to develop computational thinking skills.

The project aims to reach more than 10 million people within three years.

DE minister Pichet Durongkaveroj said Coding Thailand's key principle is that people can learn via any medium, be it mobile phones, laptops, tablets or any other smart device.

The ultimate goal is to educate Thais, he said.

The DE Ministry assigned Depa to implement Coding Thailand.

CodingThailand.org has been developed as an online learning platform to promote digital technologies and computer science, as well as to inculcate systematic thinking in Thais.

These elements are crucial for the development of a digital workforce, needed to drive Thailand's digital economy and society.

He said a shortage of data scientists and cybersecurity experts is one of problems that Thailand is facing.

Coding Thailand is therefore viewed as a means of tackling that issue, albeit in the long-term.

"The mobile subscription rate in Thailand is now 182%, with internet penetration at 68%.

Thailand leads the pack in social media consumption, with people using related platforms five hours a day.

Mr Pichet said social media can be harnessed to bolster Coding Thailand.

Coding Thailand will entail setting up a computer-science knowledge centre that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

With access to CodingThailand.org, the long-term goal is to not just help Thais keep pace with ever-evolving technologies, but develop innovations of their own.

More broadly, the initiative is aimed at reducing social, educational and economic gaps.

"CodingThailand.org will open up a new dimension of learning, as it encourages analytical thinking, problem-solving skills and creativity. All of these elements are essential for every occupation. They are also the foundation for pursuing advanced digital skills," he said.

Alice Steinglass, president of Code.org, said computational thinking and computer sciences are foundational to education in the 21st century.

These skills will prepare students throughout Thailand to not only use apps and websites, but to create the apps and websites of the future.

Code.org's curriculum and resources are available free of charge to teachers and students.

More than 25 million students and 800,000 teachers from over 180 countries have enrolled in the courses, which have been translated into over 50 languages.

The content localisation in Thailand has been handled by a Microsoft Thailand and Depa team.

Depa president Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin said Codingthailand.org was created as an online learning platform through collaboration with Code.org, a non-profit organisation serving as the world's leading computer-science learning centre.

Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Aksorn Education and other private sector players have collaborated on the project.

Mr Nuttapon said the coding programme will be initially conducted through 5,000 schools in the Depa network.

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