As the world makes the bold move towards embracing technology in all aspects of life, an African startup Tech school is helping thousands of young people in Northwest Pakistan learn to code.
TechInAfrica – The Moringa school is offering digital skills training in Pakistan as part of a government youth program, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa youth employment program. The 20-week courses on software development will take place on the north-west side of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan. The area is considered refractory, but it is mainly resultant of unemployment, through the program, more people will be able to secure jobs.
According to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information technology boards, Asim Ashaq who is the deputy director, the program aims at creating 50% tech-based jobs in the province. Moringa School has a 30 000 young people target that it seeks to impact through this exchange. This is a higher target than the 3000 first students trained during the first phase of the program early 2016. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is a very promising province that could be the next technological hub in the region with the right training. A majority of the population in the province is below 29 years making it ideal for the digital skills training. The plans for the program are so that the region can begin to grow and to open up opportunities for young people. Teaching methods and curriculum by the school are shared. All candidates applying to the program will be carefully selected and scrutinized to ensure that only serious, determined and driven candidates join the training. Mentors and facilitators taking part in the program will be locally sourced and paid by the state. The Moringa School is the principal mentor for both candidates and the local instructors. Since the mentors do not have much exposure and only fundamental programming skills, the school will organize exchange programs for the instructors. This means the mentors get to travel to other parts where Moringa has programs running and get training.
The success of the program will ensure government funding for expansion to other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Moringa School has had success in Kenya where over 350 students have benefited this year only. Through partner institutions, Moringa has also trained young people in Ghana and Hong Kong. The school was founded in 2014 with the aim of imparting computer skills ranging from beginner levels to Django and more to African youth. In Kenya, 95% of trainees easily secure good jobs. Courses cost over $1000, but in Pakistan, the government and the World Bank are paying for all the costs. Making the application easy to can attract the wrong crowd which is why fastidious vetting is done to ascertain the sincerity and willingness to learn from the applicants. Training kicks off at 9am and ends at 5pm during weekdays. Mentors give guidance to the students, and then students get opportunities to grow their portfolio and work on various projects.
Moringa School’s approach to teaching is unique. It seeks to ensure students do not just expect instructors to feed them information but that they have to take charge and steer themselves in the directions they wish to go.