Udacity, one of the most important companies in the field of distance learning, has been an important part of one of the most important education, and training initiatives in the Middle East, the ‘One million Arab Coders’ launched by the UAE last year. The company has entered a number of regional projects, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Oman.
Hisham Al-Araby, regional director of Udacity, said that Egyptians are the most involved in the UAE’s initiative, accounting for over 40%, followed by Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, and the UAE.
He told Daily News Egypt that his company is administering the programme with confidence, following years of cooperation with Google.
The programme started on 24 October 2017. It was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Over 250,000 applicants submitted their bids to win 100,000 seats. Applicants were from 22 Arab nationalities, living in 191 countries around the world, including 74% males, and 26% females.
The second phase of the initiative kicked off in May, including 145,000 students, and 3,000 trainers.
Udacity is contributing to an ambitious programme to develop the Egyptian public education through training 1,000 Egyptian teachers on using technology, and programming.
The company is cooperating with Google, and the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), to provide grants for Android developers. Udacity has trained over 1,200 Egyptians on the development of mobile applications.
Al-Araby said that Egyptians are more interested in training courses on Android, as this is the most widely used mobile operating system in Egypt.
Udacity grants trainees a ‘nano’ certificate after 6-12 months of training of 10 hours per week. This qualifies graduates to work in coding, and data analysis.
Moreover, Udacity has set up a training programme with Google, and the MCIT to train youth who have an IT background, to develop their Android apps developing skills. The program included 1,235 trainees.
Udacity has also implemented another program with the MCIT, the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), and the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (TIEC), to train youth between the ages of 18-35.
Udacity is also cooperating with ITIDA to provide scholarships. About 970 students have graduated, while 400 more are still enrolled in the programme.
Udacity is a powerful tool for access to international education, and educational opportunities developed by key ICT industry partners, as well as career development opportunities in specialised technologies.
In Saudi Arabia, Udacity has a partnership with MiSK, as part of Saudi Arabia 2030 vision, supported by the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, by giving lectures to those interested in working in the field of technology in the Kingdom. The company has provided 2,650 grants through MiSK.
In Oman, the company is working in partnership with the National Youth Skills Development Programme to train 1,000 youth, between 18 – and 29-years old, for three months.
Al-Araby said that the most attractive educational programmes among Arab youth are technological and technical, in addition to marketing education courses through social networks, as well as data analysis.
He acknowledged that humans are in an unfair competition with robots and machines in general, amid fears of losing millions of jobs, especially in industrial countries. He said that many jobs will disappear by 2030. However, he noted that technology will create new jobs for humans.
Clarissa Shen, chief operating officer at Udacity, said that the company’s initial offering in the financial market is still part of their future plan, but the company does not need it currently, with the funding available for its business.
Udacity is located in the region through its offices in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. It deals with a vast network of Arab experts, and mentors.