The government has announced plans to establish a coding school in every province and in City of Kigali as it steps up efforts train a critical mass of software engineers.
Paula Ingabire, the Minister for ICT and Innovation made revelation Friday at the inaugural ceremony of Nyabihu TVET and Rwanda Coding Academy located Nyabihu District in Western Province.
The coding school has 60 students of which 28 are girls. It will train professionals specialising in software programming, embedded systems and cyber security, according to officials.
“We are starting off with sixty (students) but the intention is if we can roll out at least five coding academies; one in each province, then you are looking at least every year enrolling about three hundred students that can specialise in becoming software experts,” Ingabire said.
While the minister did not disclose when the plan will be implemented, she underscored that the need to groom a critical mass of native high calibre of software experts is aimed reducing outsourcing of foreign experts.
“Grooming software engineers is also to say can we groom people that are able to create home grown solutions that respond to the needs and challenges that we have within the economy,” she noted
She added that government has engaged different local firms to consider giving students from the coding academy internship opportunities so that they can refine the skills.
“One of the things that we also want to see heavily happening is industry partnership with the school, for these students to really have an impact they need to be able to work with some tech companies that are here locally so that they can bring in some of their projects and they can use them as part of their assignments to build solutions that are really created to respond to a need,” said the minister.
The Minister of Education, Dr. Eugene Mutimura, said that students who admitted at the coding school were selected throughout the country basing on their level of performance in subject that the ministry thinks are relevant to coding such as Physics, Mathematics, and English as medium of instruction.
“We thought that we should give opportunity to the best students and that’s what we did but we also put in consideration gender and we aimed at having at least 30 students who are females and 30 students who are males, this is the programme that is going to take place every year,” he said.
The Nyabihu TVET is one of presidential pledges offered to Nyabihu residents back in 2014.
The facility has been established by the Government in partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) who contributed to the construction, equipment and training of staff.
Rwanda is sharing best practice with South Korean on how to design coding curriculum, and according to officials discussions are underway with some other countries that proposed some coding subjects.