A radical new computer education initiative, called WeThinkCode_, is on its way to South Africa. The project will offer free information technology training to anyone who qualifies.
In May 2015, WeThinkCode_ announced it had partnered with the French Ecole 42 to bring “world-class computer programming training to South Africa”.
WeThinkCode_ is the brainchild of Arlene Mulder, formerly at RMB Investment Banking and Camille Agon, who set up the global Breteau Foundation for education and two successful South African IT entrepreneurs – former PrivateProperty CEO Justinus Adriaanse and SYNAQ CEO Yossi Hasson – who have joined as non-executive directors to bring 42 to South Africa.
WeThinkCode_ is a non-profit organisation, which will partner with corporates to train developers for their companies.
[Also read: From CEO to code monkey]
WeThinkCode_ – a very different, and free, way to learn
WeThinkCode_ applies neither academic nor financial restrictions, which means that no one will be prevented from entering the training programme.
There are no registration or tuition fees, and the training will take place over a period of two years.
The project is based on the successful 42 training facility in France, which is producing 1,000 skilled computer professionals per year.
WeThinkCode_ will offer South African students the very best in IT resources and allow them to work in great conditions.
The incubator will launch in March 2016 with 100 students. Starting 2017, WeThinkCode_ will aim to equip 1,000 IT professionals each year with the skills necessary to start working in a company after they qualify.
There will be a strong focus on under-privileged students who cannot afford to attend traditional training institutions.
“The real revolution lies in our selection criteria that enable us to tap into the pool of underserved youth to source Africa’s next generation of coding talent,” explained Agon.
Keeping costs low
Adriaanse said the 42 education model makes it possible to keep costs to a minimum – around R50,000 per student per year.
He told MyBroadband that they are working on a funding model where a corporate partner can sponsor a student for R100,000 over two years.
Students will start working as interns in year one, which will add value to them and the companies they work for.
What the WeThinkCode_ campus will look like
The following photos shows the 42 facility in Paris, France. The South African facility will follow a similar design.