Following the successful operation of Rwanda’s first elite coding school in Nyabihu district, the government has announced plans to build four more centers of excellence in a bid to increase the number of well-trained engineers in key sectors of the economy.
According to the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, a second coding academy will open in September in the Muhanga district of the Southern Province, while a third will be built next year in the Eastern Province.
A total of 60 students who graduated from ordinary level (high school) with the best performance in science, mathematics and languages will be enrolled in the newly built school in Muhanga.
The plan was announced recently when Nyabihu-based Rwanda Coding Academy, which launched in 2019, graduated its first cohort of 58 students.
“The idea behind these coding schools was to train future engineers from a young age of 15-17 when they want to learn and do new things,” said Paula Mussoni, Minister of ICT and Innovation.
“The coding academy in Muhanga, which was one of the president’s promises, will offer coding programs and possibly robotics. Therefore, these special model schools will help us to increase the number of students who receive good training. And partners are increasingly willing to help build these schools.”
After completing a three-year programming program, students at the academy in Nyabih raised the hope that the country will have locally trained engineers working in public institutions and the private sector.
Some of the programs developed by the first cohort are already being used in various government agencies.
Musoni said the coding academies would enable the country to use locally developed software.
“Some of the systems we use today that were developed by these students could cost us a lot of money or if they were developed by foreigners,” Musoni said.
TPTA Centers of Excellence in all districts
According to the Rwanda TVET Board (RTB), which coordinates all technical and vocational programmes, the country’s goal is to have as many centers of excellence in TVET as possible.
“Our long-term strategy is to have centers of excellence in all areas that will provide the skills needed in various sectors of the economy such as agriculture, construction and manufacturing,” said Paul Muvuni, CEO of RTB, in an interview yu The New Times.
“Our goal is for every TPET school to become a center of excellence, but this is a long road that requires a lot of capacity, which is not easy to come by.”
Muvunyi said the Muhanga Coding School is currently recruiting trainers among other preparations ahead of its opening next month.
Coding schools are established in cooperation with the ministries of ICT and education.