After having for five years, within kLab, supported more than 100 companies, participated in the creation of more than 500 jobs, introduced more than 1000 young people to programming, launched coding schools in 4 refugee camps, Aphrodice Mutangana is back. on an innovative initiative set up in Rwanda, the Future Coders program.
by Aphrodice Mutangana, social entrepeneur
A very long time ago, I went to primary school in Rwanda’s Northern Province. In the fifth class, I always came second. No matter how hard I studied, I rarely outperformed one of my classmates and good friend, Mutabazi. Unfortunately after finishing primary school, I never saw him again until news got to me that my brilliant challenger quit school due to financial reasons. It crushed me.
In different parts of the world, many smart students face a similar case as of my friend Mutabazi. Tough life forces young people out of school, leaving potholes in a road to collective education for the world’s next leaders. The task arises for all of us to expand horizons for the next Africa. To earn skills far beyond what schools supply. How do we change the narrative ‘formal education is the sole path to successful life’?
For the past five years, I have been contributing to Rwanda’s knowledge-based economy through responsibilities, opportunities and capabilities bestowed on me as the General Manager of kLab. Working at the core of ICT sector has unveiled ultimate potential to boost Rwanda’s competitiveness across the world. It’s a journey filled with discoveries, collaboration and grit. I am delighted to assist as many people as I can in exploring Rwanda’s technology space and gripping a new era of digital transformation.
The best category to start with is children. Inspired by the Africa Code weekprogram’s impressive outcomes, I began to equip a young generation with proper tools and up-to-date skills — preparing them to be brilliant scholars and creative thinkers. Future Coders, a digital initiative for young people, was created.
By a broad pool of ideas in Rwanda’s IT space, internationally accredited resources, and a strong capital investment, Future Coders program will empower the next generation of programmers and digital entrepreneurs in Rwanda. Our program elevates knowledge to contribute to Rwanda’s vision 2020, 2050 and beyond. Every Rwandan child receives this tutorship free of charge; with this inclusive spirit, digital literacy will reach all social classes in the country.
To further advance this initiative, there are several challenges to face such as:
How to give equal access to students across the country since some have no electricity or access to technology equipment?
How to monitor internet safety to ensure students are not affected by the bad side of internet?
How to protect children from technology or internet addiction, leading to social isolation?
Although there are such problems the program will face over time, Collaboration between concerned organs will address many. For instance, the education sector could facilitate the initiative in various institutions, investors can weigh in with financial support to expand access, and parents — most importantly — should motivate their children to be part of this productive change. With no doubt, they’ll be best placed for success as they grow up.
Coding at a younger age embodies gradual benefits in a digital-oriented world. It’s a gift of beyond-class knowledge we give our children pursuing digital entrepreneurship; a gift that could have saved Mutabazi. Brilliant startups will provide jobs — bettering living standards of communities — irrespective of their financial backgrounds. In Future Coders, the journey continues. We’re garnering ideas to create an offline platform that enables students to be self-paced, and most effectively, access facilities even when internet is absent.
The future is too bright, or rather too smart for Rwanda’s next generations.
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