Field Stories, Trends

“Everyone Should Learn to Code”, Steve Jobs – 1995

By Evelyne Beguinot

Happy Coders Academy (HCA) is an African start-up founded in Morocco in 2016 at the initiative of three associates (from Morocco, Senegal, and France) train children as little as 4 to code and teach them stakes of the digital revolution.

Although apparently ambitious, this goal draws from the belief that the future generation should understand the digital world to control it and not to be subjected to it, as well as transition from mere consumers to consumer-actors.

It is said that about 60% of jobs that will be available in 2030 do not yet exist. Also, information technology will be an essential part of several professions, but not a job on its own, thus the need to give success guides to children! Car repair services will require programming knowledge rather than mechanic skills!

To remedy this, Happy Coders Academy provides children aged 4 to 15 with workshops and internships on creative programming, in a drive to familiarise children with programming and robotics in a playful, entertaining and meaningful manner!

Under the guidance of a devoted training staff, children build by themselves apps and robots that they use as toys, thereby playing an active role instead of remaining mere users of current and future technology.

This falls in line with our motto: Learn to relearn. We don’t teach information technology but algorithmic thinking. We don’t only teach the learning of code but provide key skills to unlock their future! 

Based on trial, observation, questioning and reasoning, our active pedagogy boosts learners’ creativity, independence, memorisation, and team spirit. So, children spend much time thinking and designing “offline” before getting into coding.

Through manipulation, discovery, and these offline sessions, children understand and take ownership of concepts faster. Building, reasoning and coding have never been that simple!

Besides, we use innovative software developed by leading education actors like MIT for each age group, and follow a suitable process focused on various active training approaches like the Montessori Method, the Freinet Method or neuroscience-based approaches… 

We have developed more than a 1,000-hour process, divided in minutes to assist our trainers, who are trained via video conferencing or on-site sessions by a dedicated staff from all our 3 country branches.

Beyond workshops carried out throughout the year or during holidays in our “lab”, HCA also provide training in schools and companies, such as Orange, Ocp, Attijariwafa Bank…

Happy Coders Academy is equally extending its impact on local government schools, thanks to CSR efforts by companies through tripartite partnerships with the State.

In 2018, for instance, Happy Coders Academy partnered with Orange and the Moroccan Ministry of National Education to train in programming 3,800 children from 120 Moroccan government schools. Similarly, in 2019-2020, Moroccan secondary school students will be trained in robotics!

This is the core of HCA’s mission – making code commonplace among children across AfricaSo far, we have trained more than 10,000 children…and counting!

To further this, in addition to its pioneer Lab in Casablanca, HCA opened a new Lab in Dakar in 2018 and its latest Lab in Abidjan in 2019 and many will soon follow… We believe the next Steve Jobs is somewhere in Africa!

Twitter: happy_coders
Facebook: happycodersacademyabidjan / happycodersacademydakar / happycodersacademycasablanca

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