Sixty young bright students have already been selected across the country to join the first cohort of the inaugural software programming school, adding impetus to the country’s efforts to become a regional tech hub.
Isaac Munyakazi, the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education told The New Times that all is set for the first bunch of selected young tech enthusiast to begin their studies.
The school will be hosted at Nyabihu Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) School.
The facility worth over Rwf4 billion is located in Nyabihu District and was completed early last year.
“Everything is set, and the school will start this academic year,” Munyakazi said.
“We have already selected 60 students to start with and the number will increase as we move along,” he added.
The selected students include those that performed well in STEM subjects in last year’s O’Level national exams.
STEM subjects include chemistry, computer and information technology science, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematical sciences, astronomy and physics.
The Minister for Education, Eugene Mutimura, said that the ministry will link students with local and international top tech-companies for further training, preparing them to become global competitors in the tech industry.
“After training them, we will link them with respective industries and some top tech-companies locally and international for further growth,” the Minister said.
He added that: “The aim is to build a knowledge-based economy and nurture our young people to meet the in-demand skills needed to compete at top of the ever-evolving world.”
At the coding school, students will pursue a three year course.
“In those three years, students will also be sent abroad for 6-months training in some of the leading IT colleges and top tech companies as they share knowledge and experience with their peers and experts,” Mutimura noted.
The programme will be fully funded by the government. The best performers will get scholarships to advance their studies in some of the leading ICT schools around the world, the minister added.
“We are excited about this programme because we believe that this coding school will promote excellence in our ICT sector and reduce government expenditure on reliance of foreign companies to provide us with tech solutions,” Mutimura said.
The Nyabihu public coding school comes to supplement the already existing-but-advanced or semi-private ICT schools and programmes in the country.
There are also several coding camps organised in the country by different stakeholders, such as the free three-month programming and coding boot camp, for girls, dubbed “She Can Code program” by Igire Rwanda Organisation in partnership with the US Embassy in Kigali, among others.
Last year, Andela also started the process of training and developing the next generation of outstanding software developers in Rwanda where its Pan-African hub will be based.
Able to host over 300 students every year, the Nyabihu-based vocation school will also provide students with advanced skills to agriculture and dairy production, and train students in leather tanning and shoe making among other products.