Following a successful operation of Rwandas first elite coding school in Nyabihu District, the government has announced plans to build four more centres of excellence in a bid to increase the pool of well-trained engineers in major sectors of the economy. According to the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, the second coding academy will open in September in Muhanga District, Southern Province, and the third will be built next year in the Eastern Province. A total of 60 students, who completed ordinary level (secondary school) as best performers in sciences, maths and languages, will be enrolled in the newly built school in Muhanga. The plan was announced recently as the Nyabihu-based Rwanda Coding Academy, which started in 2019, graduated its first cohort of 58 students. The idea of establishing these coding schools was to train future engineers from a young age of 15-17, when they are eager to learn and do new things,” said Paula Musoni, the Minister of ICT and Innovation. “The coding academy in Muhanga, which was one of the presidential pledges, will offer coding programs and probably robotics. So, these special model schools will help us expand the pipeline of students who are well-trained. And partners are increasingly willing to help build these schools.” Having completed a three-year curriculum of programming, the students at the academy in Nyabihu have raised hopes that the country can have locally trained engineers, who will work in government institutions and the private sector. Some of the software programs developed by the first cohort are already used by different government institutions. Musoni said the coding academies will enable the country to use locally developed software programmes. “Some of the systems we use today, which were developed by these students, could have cost us a lot of money or if they were developed by foreigners,” Musoni said. TVET centres of excellence in all districts According to the Rwanda TVET Board (RTB), which coordinates all technical and vocational programs, the country’s goal is to have as many TVET centres of excellence as possible. “Our long-term strategy is to have centres of excellence in all districts, which will provide skills needed in different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, construction and manufacturing,” Paul Mukunzi, RTB’s Director General, said in an interview with The New Times. “Our goal is to make every TVET school a centre of excellence, but that’s a long journey which requires a lot of capacity which is not easily available.” Muvunyi said Muhanga coding school is currently recruiting trainers among other preparations, ahead of the opening next month. The coding schools are built in collaboration with the ministries of ICT and Education.