5,000 students to start coding classes this month – Jamaica Information Service

About 5,000 students enrolled in the National Schools Coding Program are expected to begin their training this month.

The managing director of software firm Amber Group Limited, which is partnering with the Department for Education and Youth to run the training, Michael McNaughton, told JIS News that students would take part in two to three sessions. hours a week, over a period of two or three hours. month period.

A total of 400,000 students in grades 1 to 13 in Jamaica’s public schools will benefit from the initiative launched by the Prime Minister, the Most. The Honorable Andrew Holness, in November of last year.

It follows a successful pilot project, which was conducted virtually in 20 schools and involved the participation of approximately 2,000 fourth and ninth graders.

The goal is to empower students to compete in an increasingly technology-driven world.

A total of 15,000 teachers will also be trained to deliver the curriculum to students up to grade nine, as part of a train-the-trainer program.

The training of the first cohort of approximately 900 teachers has been completed.

“Because students are engaged with their teachers in the field, we felt it was essential that teachers were also exposed to the transformative aspects of coding,” McNaughton says.

Managing Director of software company Amber Group Limited, Michael McNaughton.

He says the aim is to embark on a “significant knowledge transfer programme” to enable more teachers to teach the subject on their own, “so that the knowledge base vested in them as that practitioners who teach coding be transferred to academics in our public schools”.

The chief executive of the Digicel Foundation, which is sponsoring the rollout of the coding program in schools, Charmaine Daniels, told JIS News that teachers will be trained to facilitate basic coding lessons.

“When students get to grade 10…those courses will be delivered online by master programmers to teach students who want this as a career,” she says.

After completing Form Six, students will receive certification from the HEART/NSTA Trust, with top performers benefiting from paid internships with Amber Group Limited and the Digicel Foundation.

All students will have the opportunity to continue their education at Amber HEART Academy in Stony Hill.

The facility, located at the Stony Hill HEART Academy in St. Andrew, was launched by the Prime Minister in January 2021, with a five-year goal of training 20,000 Jamaicans to become software producers.

Already, the institution is facilitating its second cohort of 50 students aged 18 to 25, in the classroom.

“We look forward to the third cohort of candidates currently selected,” says McNaughton.

Meanwhile, with coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions lifted, partners are looking to ramp up training.

Mr McNaughton says the Department for Education and Youth is doing “a good job” of enrolling teachers and pupils.

Rene Rose-Grandison, a grade three teacher at Tollgate Primary School in Clarendon, who is currently training with the HEART/NSTA Trust, says she is excited to include more tech content in her lesson plans.

She says technology is “something that kids love and gravitate towards”.

“I can imagine what my sessions with my students will be like with all this new knowledge I will gain from the program to include technology in the delivery of activities etc. “, she notes.

The Amber Innovations group comprises approximately 300 software engineers, who have provided solutions to companies in banking, insurance, security, tourism, healthcare, energy, among others.

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