From a 700-strong dialogue session in Vietnam, to an endorsement by US President Barack Obama during his visit to Malaysia, we can say that our Asia Pacific Week of Code has been nothing but a success!
The Asia Pacific Week of Code kicked off with a blast on 21 April with thousands of youth attending events and activities. The Week of Code is part of Microsoft YouthSpark’s #WeSpeakCode campaign, which encourages youth to learn basic coding skills so they can be equipped for the modern workplace and have access to better employment opportunities in the future.
Here are some highlights from Southeast Asia
Befitting the grand finale of We Speak Code in APAC and titled ‘Code for Malaysia’, it was attended by world leaders, President Obama and Prime Minister Najib. During President Obama’s visit to Malaysia both leaders affirmed their countries’ commitment to greater collaboration on education and technology. Code for Malaysia was an anchor showcase at the launch of the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Center (MaGIC) where the leaders engaged with the students trying their hand at coding.
Over 1,500 students took part in Code for Malaysia, with events in universities, schools and the Microsoft Malaysia headquarters. Local celebrities such as actress Sazlini Shamsul Falak, youth entrepreneur Michael Teoh and beauty pageant title holder Deborah Priya Henry also joined forces with us to encourage youth to learn programming.
A number of ‘Hour of Code’ activities and events filled the week. On NGO Connection Day 2014, more than 100 people learned coding on the spot, while close to 200 bloggers who attended Netizen Night did coding and signed a petition to push for coding to be part of the curriculum in schools across the country.
Microsoft Vietnam launched the Week of Code campaign with a big bang by combining it with the closing ceremony of the first phase of Microsoft Youth Training and Innovation Center (YTIC) project. Held at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST), the event garnered media attention of 64 news outlets, and saw over 700 students from 40 universities and colleges join the coding sessions and job fair organised by Microsoft.
The team brought in Human Resource Association (HRA) to teach interview skills, and even prepared a list of job vacancies in 11 major corporations. All the students really needed to do was apply! In fact, two participants landed jobs right after the event, and about a dozen others have secured internship positions.
Microsoft Thailand reached out to about 307 youth across the country with a string of events, including Nakhon Si Thammarat province in the south, Buriram province in the northeast and Bangkok.
Imagine Cup Thailand 2011 winner Kriangkrai Pipatvilaikul inspired the students with his personal experience in journeying to Imagine Cup and, subsequently, getting hired by Microsoft. Under his guidance, the 56 participants learnt coding and created 11 games in the space of a few hours.
To launch the campaign, Karrie Ilagan, General Manager of Microsoft Philippines, challenged our Philippine colleagues to initiate their own Hour of Code!
As part of the campaign, two half-day coding lessons were held at the
Gawad Kalinga farm. Gawad Kalinga (‘to give care’) is a foundation with the mission to end poverty. Children and youth between eight and 20 years old learnt about career opportunities in computer science and the basics of coding. The “app of the day” award went to Tato Salgado’s ‘Peeping Joel’ application, which allows you to take photographs discreetly. The app will be developed further and made available in the app store.
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