By Cesar Cernuda, President, Microsoft Asia Pacific
Asia is home to more than 1.1 billion young people, and it’s amazing to hear that at least four out of every five students find that “coding is cool”. Yet, despite this enthusiasm and interest, only 53% of youth in the Asia Pacific region feel that they have an opportunity to learn coding in school. This is clearly a call to action for government and education institutions, the corporate sector, and nonprofit organisations to come together and make a difference for the future opportunities of youth in our region.
The world is in the midst of a digital revolution, and being more than just digitally literate is a necessity today.
At Microsoft, we have a strong belief that every young person should have access to computer science, be it in classrooms or the comforts of home, to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities. We share this goal with nonprofit partner Code.org, which has been advocating for computer science education through its Hour of Code global movement since 2013.
The Hour of Code aims to get millions of students around the world to try just one hour of coding during the annual US Computer Science Education Week. The simplest of ideas has snowballed into a runaway success, reaching tens of millions of students in more than 180 countries. The Hour of Code has quickly become about everyone getting involved to move the dial on learning the basics of computer science and boosting participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
So how do you get involved?
We are thrilled to announce that this year’s Hour of Code worldwide campaign from 7 to 13 December, will see even more countries in the Asia Pacific region participating, including Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Children, each carrying a Microsoft Surface with ASEAN member country flag, had the opportunity to code with Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah.
We encourage parents, teachers and mentors to spend an hour coaching young people in the fundamentals of software coding, which is made fun and interesting through a series of simple activities posted on Code.org. One such activity allows learners to traverse the colourful world of Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular video games, through the Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial.
An exciting line-up of fun and engaging activities is already planned across the region, and we can’t wait to get started. The Hour of Code in Malaysia, for instance, will span across five states in partnership with federal agencies, nonprofits and international schools. Events will then occur right around the region, covering more than a dozen countries, finally wrapping up in South Korea with hands-on coding sessions at the National Science Museum.
The coolest thing about the Hour of Code is that it really is for anyone, regardless of his or her coding experience or age. Code.org has a string of one-hour tutorials and other challenges in more than 30 languages available to everyone, so any motivated individual can try their hand at basic coding.
The Hour of Code is one of the most important global initiatives that builds the capabilities of young people and sets them up for a bright future in a digital world.
I’m really proud to have Microsoft in Asia Pacific play such an active role in the Hour of Code and I hope you will join us! Learn to code now!