A Hamilton tech innovator has scored a breakthrough deal with the Chilean government that will benefit 1500 disadvantaged students in Chile.
Code Avengers, an EdTech firm, will now provide its online curriculum to schools throughout Chile, and will also conduct a three-day coding camp with students and teachers on the island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.
Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica is keeping a close eye on the coding camp. If the camp is successful, the company will sponsor the rollout of Code Avengers’ digital curriculum.
“We are passionate about providing our services to poorer communities because the skills we provide are of direct relevance to their future economic wellbeing,” says Code Avengers chief executive Hamish Day.
Code Avengers already provides online coding, design and computer literacy programmes to more than two million students in 15,000 schools and universities around the world, including local New Zealand schools.
“Global investors have been very focussed on the adult education market, but we’ve found that the school student market is just as big, if not bigger,” he explains.
“We’ve been running free coding camps in partnership with the Ministry of Youth Development at schools such as Manurewa High, Frazer High and Melville Intermediate which have been tremendously successful. We have also partnered with Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development, to deliver code camps and ongoing support to Maori students.”
“From 2020, New Zealand schools will be expected to deliver Digital Technologies to students in years 1 to 10 – that’s around 615,000 students, with a further 184,000 in years 11-13 that can take the subject as an elective. Code Avengers has worked with the Ministry of Education to develop resources for the curriculum, so we know it well. Digital Technologies is already mandatory in Australia, with many countries around the world following suit. Our product is provided on a per-student fee, so for us there is huge opportunity.”
Day says that the EdTech market is globally important, particularly as digitalisation, automation, and artificial intelligence impact the workforce. He believes low-skilled and low-income workers will feel the brunt.
“Governments around the world are grappling with the fast pace of change and how to best empower their people and truly prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow, particularly in poorer communities,” Day says.
Code Avengers is already preparing for a period of rapid growth both in New Zealand and overseas – the global EdTech market brought in more than US$89 billion from investors last year.
The company is also boosting its philanthropic side by seeking corporate sponsors to help deliver EdTech to disadvantaged communities and schools throughout New Zealand.
“We are passionate about providing our services to poorer communities because the skills we provide are of direct relevance to their future economic wellbeing,” Day says.
“We’ve had high school students with no coding experience come into our camp and after three days have been able to create an app, a website or a game from scratch. A number of these kids have parents with small businesses and they’ve been able to go home and help improve the website and add features which are of direct relevance to the family business.”
“This is why Governments such as Chile’s are so keen to get our EdTech courses in their schools – because it’s proven, it works and it makes a real difference,” Day concludes.