Empowering Southern Thai Students Through Coding Education

Empowering Southern Thai Students Through Coding Education

STEPS initiative equips students in Thailand's south with coding skills for brighter futures.

STEPS, the Southern Technology Education Project for Students, has launched a transformative initiative aimed at empowering students in the vulnerable regions of the Southern Border of Thailand. Supported by the Islamic Bank of Thailand (ibank), STEPS is dedicated to providing assistance to students in Narathiwat, Pattani, and Yala.

STEPS is a pioneering organisation committed to educating students in Thailand's southern region, with a particular focus on Muslim and female students, in the art of coding. The mission of STEPS is to equip students with coding-related technical skills, enabling them to access enhanced opportunities and greater socioeconomic mobility in the years ahead. The initiative operates on a "train the trainer" model, wherein the STEPS team guides volunteers in delivering the curriculum. Collaborating with Princess of Naradhiwas University, Prince of Songkla University - Pattani Campus, and Yala Rajabhat University, STEPS establishes connections with proficient trainers.

The recent project launch by STEPS, which took place on Friday, August 18, 2023, welcomed over 300 students aged 12 to 15, guided by 12 trainers at Princess of Naradhiwas University. During the ten-week program, trainers will impart the curriculum at various schools. At the end of the 2023 session, students will showcase their project accomplishments in a friendly competition atmosphere. The top four teams will be awarded scholarships.

Dr. Thaweelap Rittapirom, Director and President of the Islamic Bank of Thailand, a strong supporter of STEPS, highlighted the significance of coding as a skill and language that will become increasingly essential in the future. He stated, "I recognise the importance of coding as a skill and language that will become more essential in the future. And this skill will grow to be a requirement for the students to develop their career in the future. I am delighted that ibank is part of the project."

Founded by Ms. Parima Nadia Choophungart, a student at Phillips Academy in the USA, STEPS resonates deeply with ibank's mission to improve education in Thailand's southern provinces, home to a significant Muslim population. Choophungart explained, "My motivation to found STEPS derived from my belief in the importance of equitable access to education, and my own experience within STEM—particularly Computer Science—spaces, which have been majority male, and often, not very welcoming to people of other identities. I hope that STEPS will create equal opportunities for students in the South, especially girls, to learn how to code in a fun and engaging way."

To learn more about STEPS, or if you're interested in implementing a similar program in your area, visit www.stepsthailand.org

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