“MDES” joins hands with “depa” in Empowering Digital-Age Youths, Launching “Coding Thailand” in Response to Strategy to Develop Human Resources with Digital Technologies

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

People in front of a sign

The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) joins forces with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) in developing digital citizens. Together, the two agencies launch “Coding Thailand” project or the initiative to provide online knowledge community, CodingThailand.org., combining knowledge with entertainment, this online platform is set to spur digital-age youths’ interest in computer science that is now an essential skill. CodingThailand.org is expected to cover about 10 million Thai youths across the country.

Dr.Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), says, “Today, Thais have become increasingly aware of the ongoing transition from analogue society to digital society. Such transition, after all, has been taking place all over the world. As digital disruption has changed the ways of life, Thailand cannot stand still. MDES, therefore, has taken a leading role in driving constructive changes. Coding Thailand is one of our innovative policies. We have introduced and implemented this policy based on the key principle that classrooms do not need to exist just in traditional forms. Classrooms can also be made available via cell phones, laptop , tablet and smart device. The goal is to educate Thai people. MDES has assigned depa to implement the Coding Thailand. Under this project, 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. These elements are crucial to the development of digital workforce, a preparation needed to drive Thailand’s digital economy and society”.

“It is of most importance that we prepare our human resources, particularly the country’s most valuable assets or youths, for the Digital Age. MDES is confident that the Coding Thailand will provide Thailand’s computer-science knowledge center or the rich source of knowledge that people including youths can access anytime, anywhere. With access to CodingThailand.org, Thais will be able to keep pace with evolving technologies and even create them. The CodingThailand, in all, will also be a key tool in reducing social, educational and economic gaps. CodingThailand.org will open up a new dimension of learning, as it encourages analytical thinking, problem-solving skills and creativity. All these elements are essential skills in living and every occupation. They are also the foundation to pursue advanced digital skills,” Dr. Pichet adds.

Dr. Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin, President and CEO of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa), says, “The Coding Thailand represents a new world of education in the Digital Age. It is going to be a major tool for the development of digital citizens for industrial, educational and social sectors. Digital citizens are important resources for the Thailand 4.0 goal. depa has already created CodingThailand.org as an online learning platform through collaboration with Code.org, a non-profit organization that has been the world’s leading computer-science learning center, and various private sector such as Microsoft, CISCO, Google , Aksorn Education ,etc. Content has been translated and catered to Thai youths. Now, content on Codingthailand.org includes entertainment and creative touch. So, youths will have fun learning computer science and coding. They will find such stuff very relevant to their life as we efficiently blend knowledge into the content. This way, the size of digital citizens in Thailand should fast increase. These citizens can be developed further into specialists, the resources Thailand still lack”.

“Importantly, the Coding Thailand project makes sure Codingthailand.org covers both formal and informal education. Content is well designed to match each level of youth. On top of this, the platform features fun activities to encourage learning outside classrooms. Various activities are held in support of learning and development of thinking skills, computer skills, digital skills, and coding abilities so that learners can develop innovations on their own. Unplug activity is made available for early-childhood learners. This means they can learn without the use of computer. Knowledge about hardware can be added when they grow older. Thaicode Hour, meanwhile, presents activities for coding knowledge. It is based on Hour of Code, which proves successful worldwide. The content on this part takes root in the belief that everyone can start coding by spending just one hour of learning each week. Such schedule facilitates the learning of computer science in a fun and constructive way. It will lead to the understanding of basic computer science based on which learners can develop themselves further to become computer scientists in the future. Our initiative will also offer interesting activities for youths across Thailand. Among them is the Coding Thailand Tournament, which promises to blend coding learning into Thai youths’ lifestyles. In all, we have truly revolutionized digital learning for Thai youths,” he continues.

“depa believes Codingthailand.org will be able to reach out to more than 10 million people in Thailand within three years since the launch of the platform. depa also trusts that this platform will represent the new world of education. It will give students unprecedented access to endless learning opportunities. It will allow students to learn anytime, anywhere. Education will go well with cultural context. At individual level, youths will benefit from the platform. At social level, families will benefit. We will see happiness of people who have found unconventional way of learning. This is an important change. depa trusts that Thai youths, who will become Thailand’s key driving force, will be developed in terms of knowledge, abilities and competitiveness, through these changes. Their happiness will be shared with their families and society,” Dr. Nuttapon concludes.

Ms. Alice Steinglass, president of Code.org, said “The digital economy is becoming an increasingly important part of every industry and every job. Experts predict that automation will impact or replace more than half of jobs globally. To prepare our youth for the future, it is important that every child have the opportunity to learn computer science and computing sciences. Computational thinking and computer sciences are foundational to education in the 21st century. And, these skills will prepare students throughout Thailand to not only use apps and websites, but to create the apps and websites of the future.

As a non-profit, Code.org offers high quality curriculum and resources for students and teachers at no cost. The worldwide leader in K12 computer science education, we’ve enrolled over 25 million students and 800,000 teachers from over 180 countries.

In Thailand, the DE Ministry and depa have recognized the importance of developing digital citizens. They developed the Codingthailand.org platform. Code.org is delighted to share our coding content and knowledge on this platform. This is an important initiative for the Thai people. By empowering the youth to learn computer science, we are preparing them for the Digital Age. They will learn analytical thinking, problem-solving skills and creativity – all crucial components to developing the innovations of the future,” she adds.

Mr. Dhanawat Suthumpun, managing director, Microsoft (Thailand) Ltd., said, “A core part of our mission to empower every person on the planet is equipping youth around the world, young Thais among them, with digital skills, helping them achieve their goals and overcome digital limitations in the digital economy. On behalf of Microsoft, we are delighted to be part of bringing our intelligent and secure platform, Microsoft Azure, to develop an online learning platform for Codingthailand.org, and promoting coding skills with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) and Code.org. We will also collaborate with depa to support teachers and student training program that goes deep into core computer science concepts and practices to help develop digital technology skills covering 5 regions in Thailand. We believe that young people play an important role in the innovative development and Thai youth are on par with youngsters the world over. I am confident that this platform will help students and teachers to become the driving force in helping the government to achieve Thailand 4.0 agenda.”