The Education and Skills Development Ministry introduced Code Monkey, a game-based coding platform into the education curriculum in 2020. It was to encourage young Bhutanese minds to code and keep up with the rapidly changing digital world. Schools across the country have started teaching coding as part of the ICT curriculum. However, unreliable electricity and internet connectivity is a challenge. But Gasa is implementing Code Monkey in every part of the district against all odds.
The students of Gasa Primary School are seen passionately learning coding and other IT skills during the early hours of the day.
They are learning to maneuver around the world of the internet. With a computer each, they say that every code monkey class is a fun session and worth looking forward to.
“Code monkey teaches us how to code through games and cartoons. so it is very fun to learn,” said Kinley Wangchuk, a student of Gasa PS.
“It is very interesting to learn code monkey because it helps us use logic and sharpens our brains,” said Ugyen Tenzin, another student of Gasa PS.
“Code Monkey uses cartoons to teach us so it is very interesting to learn,” said Damcho Lhaden Dorji, a student.
“Many children are on phones and play online games like PUBG. Similarly, Code Monkey can also be accessed through phones and it has games we can play and learn using logic. It also helps us in subjects like math,” said Ngawang Namgay, a student.
Code Monkey classes are designed according to grades such as Code Monkey Junior and Coding Adventure. Currently, Gasa Primary School has one IT teacher and a Lab Assistant with 16 computers connected to the internet.
“All of our students have their own Code Monkey accounts and learn to code every day. Code Monkey is a gamified learning platform for students which teaches in a playful manner. In the future, they can become software engineers, computer engineers, and that way, it will really benefit our country,” said Karma Tshering, a teacher.
Likewise, the district along with the teachers is also putting efforts to teach Code Monkey comprehensively to the students of the seven schools in Gasa. However, without an electricity supply, learning coding has been challenging for the three schools in Lunana.
“One difficulty is the internet, we don’t have internet access in Lunana, and another biggest challenge is the lack of electricity in places like Lunana. That is why our students in Lunana cannot use desktop computers every day. For this, we use laptops powered by solar energy on alternative days,” said Kinley, the chief district education officer.
Nevertheless, the district with support from the teachers and the education and skills development ministry is adamant about promoting coding, STEM subjects and competency-based learning among the youth.
Kesang Wangmo, Gasa
Edited by Phub Gyem