President Obama focused on introducing code to all schools beginning with elementary, and that way the children of the future are fluent in a very overlooked language: Code. In Bahrain I envision the same thing: To teach all children in all schools Arabic, English, and Python/Java. That is how we can achieve the dream of making Bahrain an IT hub for the region; we hand the new generation the tools needed to be technologically self-sufficient and eventually exporters of technology.
To create and export technology is the natural progression after learning to write software for apps and hardware. Basically, our children will have the power to even create robots with today’s readily-available platforms and tools. I want to replicate India’s success, where countries from the MENA and all around the world depend on us to create software, establish support centers, and even customer service centers. Our edge in Bahrain is that we have the strength to cater in Arabic as well as English, which nobody else can do.
That’s how “Game Bahrain” was born. I partnered with one of the best coding academies from New York “TurnToTech” and flew in two young American trainers to start teaching schools immediately. I decided to focus on two of the best local schools (IKNS and Bayan) and do a pilot competition to prove how easy it is to teach, and how well the students will perform. Because most of our youth have no coding background, I thought the best way to grab their attention and interest is to take advantage of an old rivalry between both the two schools, and create a competition that pits the students in a head-to-head challenge.
We started training students from 7th-12th grade afterschool on Minecraft, a Microsoft game/world that teaches children many skills from math, to logical thinking, to problem solving, to coding. It’s a fun world that allows children to be free, creative, and in charge of their path. It flexes towards each child’s strengths and gives them the power to completely choose the direction of their education.
After 3 months (on May 24th) once the students are code masters, they will demonstrate their skills in the “Game Bahrain” final at the Chamber of Commerce and have the chance to win one of many prizes; including a trip to Dubai, PS4s, X Boxes, virtual reality headsets, iphone 7, cash prizes, a TV, and most importantly title of “Game Bahrain Champ”! They will use code as magic spells, defensive mechanisms, fort and city-building, and fight one vs one, team vs team, school vs school, and a 30 player capture the flag! Sounds like a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see it.
This is just the first edition of “Game Bahrain” and I hope to involve all private schools next year to compete against one other. By the third “Game Bahrain” competition, I envision all public schools and universities involved as well. Let’s truly find out who the best coders in Bahrain are! To succeed in the Government’s vision of becoming an IT hub, there has to be a strong collaboration between the private and public sectors. I have received tremendous support and sponsorship from both communities, specifically the Prime Minister’s Court, the Crown Prince’s Court, Awalco, EDB, GDN, IKNS, Bayan, Tamkeen, Microsoft, GPIC, Viva, Apple, Mohammed Fakhroo & Bros, Chamber of Commerce, KPMG, Rapid Telecom, and many more. This amount of support proves that there is a solidarity between the public and private sectors, and without contribution from all these organizations, Game Bahrain would not have been possible.
For more information please visit www.gamebahrain.net or follow them on Instagram @gamebahraincompetition or call 17171696.