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Learning why coding matters with kids in Singapore

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14-year-old Gopinath Kavya wants to help other children learn English. Using Python, a programming language, she designed a word-unscrambling game to encourage kids to expand their vocabulary.  

Kavya was one of 550 graduates from the second run of Code in the Community, a coding program for young people from less well-to-do backgrounds in Singapore. Through the program, young kids with no programming experience took weekly classes held by our partners 21C Girls and Saturday Kids, and had a chance to create a program of their own. After 10 weeks of learning, experimenting and building, the newly-minted coders proudly presented their creations at a graduation ceremony in the Google office in Singapore.

Kavya presents her learning game to Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State in the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information.

One of our youngest coders, nine-year-old Ain Afifa Rafi Mohammad Rafi had no clue how to code before joining the class. But she did have a very active imagination and a knack for story-telling. Afifa used her new coding skills to bring her passions to life, creating her first short animation video, telling the story of a lion (her favorite animal) meeting a cat with magic powers.


I was so impressed by the adventures of Afifa’s animated lion!

It can be expensive to buy video games—especially for an 11 year-old—so Ang Song Wei wanted to learn coding to design his own games. At the end of his stint with Code in the Community, he produced Shooter Game, where the player is tasked to destroy the enemy through different levels of difficulty. The sense of accomplishment he got from seeing his vision realized had inspired Song Wei’s to start work on even more games.  

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Ang Song Wei's shooter game, created after he mastered the programming language Scratch.

We hear about kids who are born to become concert musicians, mathematicians or chess grandmasters. No one is born to become a programmer, which is great because that means all of us can learn to be programming prodigies.

As the Code in the Community kids show, it isn’t our backgrounds that determine our future. It’s the skills we pick up, the determination we show in solving bugs (among other obstacles), and most importantly, the fun we have while doing it. Watch what they have to say about becoming coders:

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