Digital National Alliance
Throughout the summer of 2021 we are going to organize summer programming school for children aged 12-18. The school will take place in the 5 biggest cities in the Northwest of Bulgaria - Pleven, Montana, Vratza, Vidin, and Lovech. This is the EU region with the lowest living standards according to Eurostat. The basic idea behind the project is to better the future possibilities of the adolescents by introducing them to the world of programming.
The project will take place in all province cities in the Northwest region.
The North West planning region has the lowest socio-economic performance in the country and within the entire EU. The increased migration of young people to other regions is among the main shaping factors for the weak socio-economic performance of the region. It influences the regional unemployment of 11.3%, which is the highest in Bulgaria, almost double than the country average of 5.2% according to Eurostat. The potential of the region for R&D is rather low driven only by the small number of national universities and research institutes. The region lacks general innovation suppliers, thus innovation partnerships are underdeveloped and affordable only for big companies.
The existence of well-trained, educated and qualified workforce allowed many districts in South Bulgaria to develop in a positive direction. However, the overall qualification of the people from the Bulgarian Northwest is not aligned with the needs of the labor market. The idea to promote digital literacy in terms of programming will significantly improve the region potential to attract foreign investments and develop the next generation as active citizens, workers and members of the society. Another great challenge in the region is the striking depopulation in the last years. Stagnating economy and demographic decline have been circling each other.
Most children in the region do not have access to the digital world – half of the people in the region have never used a computer; half of the households do not have access to the Internet; the overall technological readiness of the region is The project is absolutely inclusive. All children from the region, aged 12-18 will be able to join. The reason we have decided to train children 12 and above is because the younger ones would require staff with special pedagogical training.
The number of children within the age group from the region was 13 642 according to the National statistical institute of Bulgaria, as around 3000 are the ones graduating each year. We plan on getting to at least 1000 children in the region. Our team will spend 2 weeks in each of the cities and create the classes.
5 cities, 2 weeks in each one of them. We will be holding classes dedicated to Textual programming in Python for beginners. We plan on having one mentor for 20 kids, therefore we can organise a number of classes simultaneously hence having more participants included if the interest is greater than anticipated. The project will start in early May when we will start popularising the project in the region and it will finish in September, just before the children start school in Bulgaria (15 September). We believe that we won't benefit if we use the entire summer, therefore the period of 1st August-15 August we will use to recuperate and leave the children a breather.
By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in completely new job types that don’t yet exist. In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment is increasingly critical for businesses, governments and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends. We already have all the material that will be used during the courses - https://gstoy.github.io/Programming-with-Python/ (everything is in Bulgarian).
We believe in advancing democracy through digitalisation. There are plenty of evidence that the countries with higher proliferation of digital technology have higher rates of economic wealth and respect for democratic values. Among the five key areas for external action set by the European Commission are sustainable growth, climate action, peace & governance, migration and digital development. Therefore there is a straight correlation between advanced digital skills and the development of strong democratic institutions and sound democratic processes.
I, myself do not have a programming background. Once when I was off from university, however, I felt under prepared and in lack of hard skills. In the next couple of years programming will be part of any job. In order for the next generation in Bulgaria to be prepared, and especially the generation growing up in the region with the lowest living standards we have to take measures. There is no way these children become part of the society if they do not participate in the economic life of the country.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
20 000 EUR - Honoraria external trainers
20 000 EUR - Travel and accommodation
10 000 EUR - Electronic Devices
1500 EUR - Public Relations
2000 EUR - Office expenses
Any kind of advice and comments are welcome. Feel free to contact us via email or through social media.