Microsoft to kick start week-long coding campaign in Asia Pacific to equip young people with 21st century skills, preparing them for global workforce
KUALA LUMPUR, 17 April 2014 – Inspired by Code.org’s successful ‘Hour of Code’ campaign – which was spearheaded by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher, Shakira – Microsoft today announced that it is bringing the Asia Pacific Week of Code (http://aka.ms/wespeakcode) to Malaysia and other parts of Asia from April 21 to 27.
Dubbed Code for Malaysia locally, the campaign, which commences from 19 April till 27 April, will see local celebrities such as actress Sazlini Shamsul Falak, national youth icon Michael Teoh and beauty pageant title holder Deborah Henry collaborate with Microsoft and three higher learning institutions nationwide to introduce this week-long coding campaign to students of all ages - ranging from primary to University students.
Code.org’s ‘Hour of Code’ aims to introduce computer programming to 10 million students and encourage them to learn programming. It is a one-hour basic introduction to Computer Science, designed to demystify "code" and prove that anyone can learn the fundamentals of computer programming. The Asia Pacific Week of Code extends the ‘Hour of Code’ by dedicating an entire week designated across the Asia Pacific region to encourage people, particularly young people, to hold basic coding training or hold a hack-a-thon in schools, community centers, universities – basically anywhere.
“The Week of Code will be a great and fun week when people can either celebrate their coding skills or take their first step towards learning to code by doing one of the interactive coding courses provided by Microsoft and Code.org,” said Cesar Cernuda, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific.
In the lead up to the week, young people are encouraged to share their coding stories, images, thoughts and events via social media such as Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WeSpeakCode), Twitter, Instagram and tumb.lr using the #wespeakcode hashtag. Microsoft will be providing coding kits to the first 50 events registered on the campaign website www.wespeakcode.net .
Equipping the future generation with relevant 21st century skills
According to the Global Employment Trends 2014 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), youth unemployment remains a major challenge in Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia. In 2013, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Malaysia was slightly above 11 percent, which was almost four times that of the total unemployment rate, and even more alarming, nearly eight times that of the adult unemployment rate. Comparing Malaysia’s figures to that of the region, Malaysia’s youth-to-adult unemployment ratio in 2013 was almost 8:1, whereas the region’s average was approximately 5:1. The report summarizes that given the young demographic profile of many of the countries in the region, equipping youth with education and skills to obtain productive jobs are likely to remain key policy concerns for many governments.
“By focusing on one simple, achievable campaign – Code for Malaysia – and tying it to the younger generation’s innate love of gadgets and apps, we hope to channel the energy of youth into a loud demand for more resources, education and skills training in coding, which we hope will empower these young people with the 21st century skills they need to face a very competitive global workforce,” added Lacerda.
A report by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) released last year found that the global youth unemployment rate is expected to reach 12.8 percent by 2018. As the technology sector continues to drive economic growth in Asia, youth with ICT skills will find themselves better qualified for new employment and entrepreneurial activities.
Beginning 19 April, Microsoft Malaysia will be hosting a range of activities and events across the nation in collaboration with local partners to celebrate Code for Malaysia. Students are invited to participate in the educational institutions listed below and to take advantage of tutorials, lessons and mentoring programs which will be provided during this period. Interested students are encouraged to register at http://aka.ms/codeformalaysia.