DUBAI, Following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to activate the role of national universities in supporting the promising talents of coding in the UAE, the National Programme for Coders has announced the participation of 8 national universities to empower 20,000 students with coding skills, as part of the first phase of the Programme knowledge partnerships.
The National Programme for Coders will provide 500 training opportunities for undergraduates in local, regional, and international companies in the UAE and abroad.
The list of participating national universities includes the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Khalifa University, Zayed University, University of Dubai, Abu Dhabi University (ADU), Mohammed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), American University in Dubai (AUD) and the University of Sharjah (UoS).
The Programme will also launch 3 digital libraries in collaboration with Amazon, Huawei, and IBM, to give undergraduates in the UAE the opportunity to learn how to use various programming applications and apply them practically, as well as to introduce them to the coding techniques and tools used in various sectors and markets.
These digital libraries provide important resources for undergraduates, enabling them to view various areas of specialised digital content and benefit from global experiences in coding-related technology, such as artificial intelligence, data science, designing digital platforms, creating electronic applications, cloud computing services, fifth generation technologies, and blockchain.
The national universities participating in the National Programme for Coders will launch special clubs for coders on their campuses, with the goal of refining their skills and providing them with the opportunity to participate in Hackathon competitions specialised in programming, both locally and globally. In the next phase, these universities will also organise several training workshops and academic lectures with top experts and specialists from the UAE and abroad.
On this occasion, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Cabinet Member, Minister of Culture and Youth and President of Zayed University, ensured that the ultimate objective of Zayed University’s (ZU) partnership with the Ministry of Artificial Intelligence with regards to the Programme for Coders initiative, is to ensure implementation of such National priority agenda items that help reduce the gap between academia and industry in terms of programming skills.
“Coding has become a significant requirement for fresh graduates that may bolster a candidate’s employment opportunities. Through this strategic partnership, we will be able to equip ZU graduates and the youth in the UAE with the necessary skills that will provide with them a competitive edge in the employment market,” she said. “As an academic institution, ZU’s agenda revolves around getting our graduates ‘industry ready’ and provide them with the necessary exposure that will make them, and keep them, relevant to the ever-changing needs of the market. The expectations of today’s university graduates is focused on producing interdisciplinary individuals that can apply themselves in multiple scenarios – regardless of their degree.”
“Over the recent years, ZU has placed great emphasis on coding within the curriculum of the College of Technological Innovation (CTI). ZU’s active engagement with the initiative will enable our students to interact with programmers and strengthen their programming skills.”
“ZU students have been active members in the Emirates Skills National Competition since 2015 and started competing in the annual Gulf Programming Contest in 2018. We are proud to note that our students have won several programming medals and awards in the development of IT Software Solutions for Business and Web Design,” Al Kaabi added. “We are currently formulating new students’ clubs, workshops and training courses to support the initiative on both campuses, that targets students within ZU and from other academic bodies including schools.”
“Through this initiative, we are looking to extensively open more opportunities for students and extend the programming network, as well as further expand the infrastructure and allocate one of our servers to be solely dedicated for the initiative. We will enable accessibility and technical support to students and programmers to work remotely,” she said.
Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Teleworking Applications, stated that the support of national universities is key for achieving the objectives and outcomes of the National Programme for Coders launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, adding that they provide an inclusive environment for promising young talents in coding, applying their academic and technological expertise to prepare the coders of tomorrow.
Al Olama said that the launch of digital libraries in collaboration with Amazon, Huawei, and IBM represents a new step in activating the global public and private partnerships within the framework of the National Programme for Coders, which confirms the importance of joint efforts exerted to enhance technological cooperation, exchange knowledge and expertise, and equip talents with the latest tools and skills to effectively participate in the journey of human development.
On his part, Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, President and CEO of HCT, stated that the launch of the Programme represents a new forward-looking vision that believes in the capabilities of youth and their role in designing the future of the UAE. Adding that the Programme will accelerate local and global digital transformation, through utilising the creativity of young professionals and talents in the rapidly growing world of technology.
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of the Khalifa University, said, “Khalifa University seeks to participate in initiatives that aim to enhance the fundamentals of the UAE’s digital future, especially in the areas of aerospace, aviation, transportation, healthcare, economy, and research.”
He added, “Through our partnership with the National Programme for Coders, we aim to design and develop products and solutions related to the digital system on a larger scale, utilising the successful records of the University in organising events and activities specialised in coding.”
Dr. Humaid Majol Al Nuaimi, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, said that the Programme establishes a strong digital economy considering the rapid daily technological acceleration, and enhances the UAE’s global leading position in various future investment fields, adding that it supports national initiatives and futuristic strategies of the UAE, which aim to develop the capabilities of national talent, attract industry professionals from around the world, and provide the necessary infrastructure to establish and expand innovation-based companies.
Professor Eric Xing, President of MBZUAI, said, “As information technology and artificial intelligence are increasingly becoming the engine of the new economy, every country in the world needs to invest in building new workforce, in this case, computer ‘coders’, who innovate and produce software products fueling the engine.”
He continued, “As the first graduate research AI University, MBZUAI is committed to become a major cradle for generating elite coders, and a hub for entrepreneurships where they can thrive and further grow and amplify. We are excited about the vision laid by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid to boost the economy with coders as the digital drive, and we are confident that MBZUAI will contribute to this vision by being an AI powerhouse that attracts and nurtures the best talents in computer programming.”
Dr. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, Chairman of the Board of ADU, stressed that the National Programme for Coders embodies the leadership’s vision for the future and translates this vision to nurture talents and specialised cadres of coders around the world, which opens future prospects for them to contribute to the national and global economy and keep up with scientific and applied developments in the digital age and its future ambitions.
He expressed the pride of ADU’s participation in implementing this National Programme and employing the academic and applied expertise of its faculty and researchers.
Dr. David A. Schmidt, President of AUD, said, “The American University is honored to be develop a partnership with The National Programme for Coders initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. AUD signed an MOU with the Artificial Intelligence Office to support the strategic goals of this important initiative and implement related projects. Planned collaborative activities include specialised courses and workshops in coding, reshaping our curricula for the digital economy, and directing our students to establish startups in the AI and Data Science fields.”
Dr. Eesa Al Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai, stated, “Dubai University will employ its technical programs in information security, artificial intelligence, and data science to support the realisation of the leadership’s vision of making the UAE one of the best countries in the world in various technological fields. Our university will continue its leadership in professional training in coding and software, offering global professional qualifications in coding, and building high-quality software capabilities in cooperation with its partners.”
Source: Emirates News Agency