Microsoft and DEPA, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society join hands to build future-ready digital skill for AI era in “Hour of Code Thailand”

 |   Thornthawat Thongnab

Executives and children in coding activity

Programme aims to provide youth with opportunities to discover and explore computer science while also building new skills for educators

Bangkok, December 6, 2018 – Microsoft (Thailand) Limited, in partnership with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) Ministry of Digital Economy and Society and the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, recently hosted Hour of Code Thailand 2018 as part of an ongoing campaign to encourage development of computer science skills among Thai youths through basic coding skills and fundamental learning, equipping them as a future developer in the AI First era.

Founded upon the concept of “AI for Thais”, the campaign seeks to get kids started in computer science to light their spark of creativity. As AI technology is integrating more and more into Thai lives and Thai society, ensuring that all young people have the opportunity to learn computer science so that they can push the nation to new frontiers in its digital future. It is one of the activities of Coding Thailand, another Microsoft collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to promote basic coding for success in the digital future via training courses that improve key digital skills for youths. This year, Hour of Code 2018 offers the first experience of Minecraft: Voyage Aquatic, the latest chapter of coding tutorials inspired by the titular game’s underwater adventures.

Now into its sixth year, Hour of Code Thailand attracted significant public attention and drew more than 5,000 children from different parts of the country to join the campaign alongside teachers, educators and people with disabilities from NGOs interested in learning basic computer science skills. The campaign aims to empower participants to not only “use” technology but to also “create” innovations that pave the way for future-ready workforce.

Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, said, “Digital transformation is inevitably happening. It is very important that young people have the support of their parents and teacher in education outside classrooms, allowing them to be surrounded by creativity and get ready for the digital future. There is no better way for them to learn and achieve genuine understanding other than to do it with their own hands. I deeply appreciate that Coding Thailand by Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) partners with Microsoft, who is committed to drive our country onwards in digital transformation and work with us to bring Thai youths to the future with better career opportunities, which are key factors in the growth of our country in the future.”

Mr. Pawish Jaishuen, Public Sector Director, Microsoft Thailand, said, “Education and self-learning is one of the most important factors contributing to personal and nationwide economic growth. Educators and parents have an important role to ignite students’ interest in computer science. Through computational thinking, youth will not only gain technical knowledge but also develop creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills – all of which are essential attributes for the jobs of tomorrow.”

“However, more than one-third of educators in Asia Pacific still feel that there is insufficient professional development in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, particularly in the area of computer science. That is why we are committed to providing educators with the required resources and training to upskill themselves in this area, in and out of school,” Mr. Pawish added.

Preparing young people to cope with the shifting on economy in the future has always been the aim of public and private educational sector leaders, who continually initiate many projects to increase opportunity of the equity in education. Apart from Hour of Code Thailand 2018, Microsoft is collaborating with the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) in the Coding Thailand initiative to offer’s global, high-quality and advanced curriculums and resources translated and catered to Thai students, teachers and parents, in school or through self-learning, at no cost. Additionally, learning platform is built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform. Other partners supporting the Hour of Code Thailand 2018 activity were Banluesarn Publication, Betimes Solutions Co., Ltd and TGMT Studio.

To provide young people with an opportunity to learn the basics of coding through a game loved by millions around the world, Microsoft is launching its game-based learning program, Minecraft Voyage Aquatic  in partnership with The tutorial introduces players to brand new puzzles that require them to leverage key computer science concepts such as loops and conditionals.

Minecraft banner

Minecraft Voyage Aquatic

In this occasion, famous game caster Uncle Pee – Pakawat Leupatanasuk joined Hour of Code Thailand 2018 as a special guest to share his inspirations and knowledge in computer science with the participants through Minecraft Voyage Aquatic after its recent launch in November. The participants enjoyed adventuring and treasure hunting under the sea while they practiced coding through the program. These youths were also the first group who met “PangPond”, the first Thai cartoon character integrated into the fundamental course in the Coding Thailand campaign to create more fun tailored to Thai youths.

Mr. Panus Singhakun, Mathayomsuksa Three student from Triam Udom Suksa Pattanakarn School, said, “I already had an opportunity to learn basic coding from my school. I wanted to study more, and it became my personal interest to practice coding skills in my leisure time. I believe that coding skills will lead to good opportunities for my career in the future. Today is my first time joining in Hour of Code, and I have picked up many useful tips. It is also my first time learning coding through Minecraft. I am now even more interested in coding as Minecraft made it even more enjoyable.”

In addition, teachers who completed the training program in the event received a certificate from Microsoft and Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) to certify their basic coding capability. They can also learn coding deeper through platform, which offers various courses as well as the option of utilizing the website as their teaching platform.

Hour of Code Thailand is one of Microsoft Thailand’s many initiatives supporting its commitment to play a part in driving the country towards ‘Thailand 4.0’ through development and enhancement of digital literacy and skills. On a regional level, the programme sees Microsoft organize over 30 Hour of Code events across Asia with the Thai edition entering the sixth year of inspiring youth to try and pursue computer science studies and get future ready.

Microsoft is committed to push forward the implementation of artificial intelligence in Thailand to empower human capabilities and drive digital transformation through responsible AI innovation on all platforms. The company continues to accelerate the progress of Thailand’s technology ecosystem with initiatives such as the recent “Future Now” seminar, which was held for the first time in November under the theme “AI for Thais” to support business growth, and to build digital skills with this foundational Hour of Code Thailand to advanced skills in AI via virtual AI School .

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