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Google And IMDA Pledge $2M To Help 6,700 Underprivileged Youth In S'pore Learn Coding

On 4 Jan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat announced that Google and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) will be supporting the expansion of the Code in the Community (CITC) programme with a total of $2 million in grant funding.

Google is contributing $1 million to the programme, with IMDA matching its contribution.

The CITC programme, first launched in 2017, offers free, multi-level coding classes for underprivileged young Singaporeans.

Since its introduction, the programme has equipped 2,300 students with basic coding skills.

Image Credit: Google

The new funding will enable CITC partners Saturday Kids and 21C Girls to bring the programme to another 6,700 students, aged 8 to 16 years, over the next three years.

Students from the CITC Foundational programme aged between 8 and 12 will learn the Scratch coding language, while students aged 13 to 16 will learn to code in Python.

Image Credit: Google

The CITC is also supported by self-help groups Chinese Development Assistance Council, Eurasian Association, Singapore Indian Development Association and Yayasan Mendaki, which helped to reach out and bring in students who are eligible for the programme.

The National Library Board, community centres and family service centres will also be providing more of their premises for more classes to be held, while more than 200 employees from the Government Technology Agency also volunteered their time through its “Digital4Good” programme.

New partners have also come on board for staff and students to volunteer as trainers, namely Cognizant, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central, Nanyang Polytechnic, Nanyang Technological University’s Open Source Society, Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore Polytechnic.

To date, there are more than 1,000 volunteer trainers, but efforts are underway to recruit more to support the growing intake of new students.

Said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Google: “By providing grant funding to Code in the Community, we want to empower all kids in Singapore to discover and explore technology. The Google grant will help Saturday Kids and 21C to nurture the country’s next generation of innovators and support
Singapore’s ambition of being a Smart Nation.”

Added Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA: “IMDA is pleased to partner Google on the CITC programme to support underprivileged children in picking up digital skills and computation thinking through coding. This is part of our efforts to ensure that no child is left behind in a Smart Nation.”

“I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the volunteers for their contributions to build a more caring and inclusive society. I hope that more like-minded industry partners and volunteers will step forward to join us on this journey.”

  • The first run of CITC will commence from 1 February to 22 March 2020. Interested parties can register their interest at https://www.codeinthecommunity.com. Applications close 14 January.

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