We Speak Code. Do you?

SINGAPORE, March 10, 2014 — Microsoft today announced it is bringing the successful ‘Hour of Code’ campaign, inspired by Code.org, to Asia during the Asia Pacific Week of Code April 21 to 27.

Globally more than 10 million students globally have already taken the ‘Hour of Code’ challenge and with 3 billion people speaking more than 2,000 different languages across the Asia Pacific region it is hoped many more students will sign up to adopt ‘code’ as their official second language.

“The Week of Code will be a great and fun week when people can either celebrate their coding skills or take their first step towards learning to code by doing one of the interactive coding courses provided by Microsoft and Code.org,” said Cesar Cernuda, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific.

The campaign, with the catch phrase “We Speak Code”, aims to give millions of people from all over the region a taste of what coding is, demonstrate how accessible learning coding can be, and create interest in expanded programming and computer science courses and activities in schools.

In the lead up to the week, young people are encouraged to share their coding stories, images, thoughts and events via social media such as Twitter, Instagram and tumblr using the #wespeakcode hashtag and Microsoft will be providing coding kits to the first 50 events registered on the campaign website www.wespeakcode.net.

“Beyond the fun and excitement though, we want to make sure people understand computer science and basic programming as those skills are the foundation for many jobs today, and those that will be created in the future. Therefore it is extremely important the young people of this region have access to the education and skills training needed to adequately prepare them,” said Cesar Cernuda, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific.

According to the Global Employment Trends 2014 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), youth unemployment remains a major challenge in Southeast Asia. The estimated youth unemployment rate (13 percent in 2013) is almost three times that of the total unemployment rate, and approximately five times that of the adult unemployment rate. The report summarizes that given the young demographic profile of many of the countries in the region, equipping youth with education and skills to obtain productive jobs are likely to remain key policy concerns for many governments.

“By focusing on one simple, achievable goal – a week of code – and tying it to the younger generation’s innate love of gadgets and apps, we hope to channel the energy of youth into a loud demand for more resources, education and skills training in coding which we hope will pave a way forward to address the region’s youth unemployment crisis,” added Cernuda.

A report by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) released last year found that the global youth unemployment rate is expected to reach 12.8 percent by 2018. As the technology sector continues to drive economic growth in Asia, youth with ICT skills will find themselves better qualified for new employment and entrepreneurial activities. According to the study “Connecting to Work” from The World Bank, in India, for example, jobs in the ICT industry pay up to twice what service-sector jobs pay, whereas in the Philippines an entry-level tech job pays, on average, 38 percent more than minimum wage.

Code.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding participation in Computer Science education by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and less fortunate students. Microsoft is a founding partner of Code.org and recently supported the organization’s Computer Science Education Week and “Hour of Code” movement in the U.S. last year.

Beginning 21 April, Microsoft will be hosting a range of activities and events across the region in collaboration with local partners to celebrate “We Speak Code”. The company is also providing tutorials and lessons on its website for people from all walks of life to host their own basic coding training in their schools and communities. Microsoft is also supporting Code.org’s petition for every student to have the opportunity to learn computer science in every school.

For more information on how “We Speak Code” or how you can speak code too, please visit www.wespeakcode.net. Follow us on Twitter at #wespeakcode.


About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

For more information, press only:
Microsoft Asia Pacific News Center: www.microsoft.com/apac/news

Microsoft Asia Pacific Week of Code News Center: http://www.microsoft.com/apac/news/presskits/wespeakcode/

Microsoft
Jesse Verstraete
jesse.verstraete@microsoft.com

Weber Shandwick
Moses Mok
mmok@webershandwick.com

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