Coding kids key to Thailand’s digital future
The government is aiming to train 10 million young Thais in coding and computer science over the next three years through a new website launched by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the minister said last week, as part of a policy to promote innovation and digital skills to advance the Kingdom’s competitiveness.
The government realizes that digital literacy – and beyond that, digital creativity and innovation – are essential skills the Kingdom’s younger generations need in order to successfully compete in an advanced national and global marketplace. The website, CodingThailand.org, is designed to provide young Thais with an interest in computing with training in computer sciences, especially for those without access to that type of education in the areas in which they live.
“CodingThailand.org has been developed as an online learning platform to promote digital technologies and computer science, and also to inculcate systematic thinking in Thais,” said Pichet Durongkaveroj, the Minister of Digital Economy and Society. “These elements are crucial to the development of a digital workforce, a preparation needed to drive Thailand’s digital economy and society.”
The website is the work of the ministry in partnership with Code.org, an international non-profit group funded by United States-based global technology giants Microsoft, Google, Cisco and others. Code.org offers resources to students and teachers worldwide at no cost, and has enrolled over 25 million students and over 800,000 teachers in 180 countries.
Thailand’s younger generations are avid users of social media and computer technology. The government has been promoting online literacy by connecting all of Thailand’s villages to broadband internet. But only a small percentage of Thais have acquired or studied coding and programming.
The ability to code and program means moving from consumers of technology to designers and developers of technology. That evolution is in line with the 20-year national strategy known as Thailand 4.0, which seeks to create a society and economy driven by innovation, creativity, research and development, and higher and green technologies.
The minister said that the Coding Thailand website will become the country’s computer-science knowledge center, the richest source of knowledge that people, including youths, could access anytime, anywhere. It will lessen the need to build the infrastructure of physical classrooms because people will be able to learn using their cellphones, laptops, tablets and other smart devices, all which can access the website.