Esra is in London, Whose Life Has Been Changed By “Coding Tomorrow” Project.


Prepared by Vodafone Group Foundation to draw attention to the effects of digitalization in education, “Connected Education” report has been launched in London. 11-year-old Esra Elbuğa, who has received training in “Coding Tomorrow” project, represented Turkey in the event, and attracted great attention by telling how coding has changed her life.

It is announced in the London event, that free primary and secondary education will be provided for more than 5 million children in Africa through the agency of Vodafone Group Foundation.

“Connected Education” report, that is prepared by Vodafone Group with the support of Vodafone Group Foundation, has been launched in London to introduce the initiatives carried out in the leadership of Vodafone in an effort to facilitate digitalization in education all across the world. Esra Elbuğa, who was a participant in “Coding Tomorrow” project, which was carried out with the cooperation of Vodafone Turkey Foundation and Habitat, participated the event with her speech, and shared how she met coding, how she made progress with the training she received, and her coding journey with the attendees.

Born in 2007, Esra Elbuğa, whose family moved from Batman to İstanbul 20 years ago, indicated that coding has changed the way she looks at life, and that all children must receive this training. Esra Elbuğa said, “Coding education has increased my interest in technology, and it has effected my academic life in a positive way. I believe that there is a connection between coding and mathematics, for I’m especially comfortable and successful in mathematics now. I think all my peers need to benefit from these opportunities.” Wanting to become a footwear designer in the future, Esra noted that coding education played a big part in this dream of hers. Esra told that she wants to code and design a pair of shoes that can give a foot massage for her father, who comes home tired from work.

Another name that became prominent in the London event was 2000-born Berk Sürücü, who presented his coding program, that is used in trainings, to the participants with a live demo in a coding booth. Sürücü had won the “Young Entrepreneurs Prize” with the project that he and his teammates have developed in a 54-hour hackathon in Silicon Valley in 2014. Berk Sürücü is a member of the FRC Robotics team, INTEGRA, which ranked among the world’s top 3 teams in 2016-2016 season. Sürücü is also a volunteering instructor in “Coding Tomorrow” project that facilitates software and algorithmic thinking education for children between the ages of 7-14 with the cooperation of Vodafone Turkey Foundation and Habitat.

Digitalization will boost education

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao hosted the event in London, in which the report on the effects of digitalization in education has been launched. Colao said, “In Vodafone, we believe that accessing global information through easily purchased devices is a huge step towards a change in education in developing countries. Therefore, we are excited to promote our sustainable development purpose for providing qualified education for everyone and offering life-long learning.”

The Director of Vodafone Group Foundation Andrew Dunnett said, “Instant Digital Education Centers give children the opportunity for a better future with Internet connection in refugee camps, or in remote parts of Africa where very few schools are found. These centers bring millions of children the same technological devices that are used in more developed regions, in order for them to achieve their dreams.”

“Coding Tomorrow” set an example to the world

“Coding Tomorrow” project, which have been initiated last year in an effort to raise coding awareness among children by Vodafone Turkey Foundation in cooperation with Habitat, appeared as an exemplary success story in the field of “Digital Literacy” in the “Connected Education” report. To raise a generation that “not merely uses technology”, but also “creates technology” is the purpose of the project, which sets an example to the world with its sustainable education model in the field of digital literacy education. The project, in which children between the ages of 7-15 receive coding training, has reached more than 1.800 children with 35 educators in 6 provinces so far, while Vodafone Turkey Foundation’s aim for the 2017-18 financial year is to quintuple the scope of the project, and to reach 10.000 children with 135 educators in 30 provinces.

Free, unlimited access to online educational materials

The social support department of Vodafone is initiating “Instant Digital Education Centers” project in Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania in order to give free access to qualified online educational materials. Children, young people, and educators will gain free, unlimited access to the online educational materials in “Instant Digital Education Centers” without having to pay mobile data fees, in an effort to provide wide access to, and to encourage the use of the curricula that is offered as a part of the project. Furthermore, these educational contents will be made available offline in order for students and teachers to use them without an Internet connection. 215.000 children have already been reached through “Vodafone E-School”, a similar Vodafone Foundation initiative in South Africa.

Developed with “Learning Equality”, the non-profit open source educational technology solutions, “Instant Digital Education Centers for Africa” platform will offer educational materials that include subjects like math and science to provide millions of children with local and global educational resources, from primary school through to high school level.

Together with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Vodafone Foundation also works hard to bring primary and higher education to children in refugee camps with Instant Digital Education Centers, in which specially designed online educational resources and tablets are used.

Vodafone Foundation aims to reach 3 million young refugees with Instant Digital Education Centers program by the year 2025. Arthur D. Little indicates that each month 43.000 young people benefit from the program, and they estimate that it has the potential to improve the living conditions of 80% of the young refugees.

The objective by 2025 is 50 million children

Vodafone Group Foundation has announced that the ongoing educational programs in Africa will expand to include more than 5 million children, who have been marginalized and excluded from traditional education. Vodafone Foundation will take its educational programs beyond the borders of refugee camps, to children who cannot go to school across Africa. 34 million of the 57 million children who cannot go to school live in sub-Saharan Africa. Primary school enrollment rate in the region is the lowest in the world. Girls constitute the majority of the children who cannot go to school in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the cultural norms and remote communities. According to UNESCO’s statistics, 15 million girls of primary school age will never have the chance to learn how to read, in comparison to 10 million boys. 9 million of these girls live in sub-Saharan Africa. Under-five mortality rate for the children of mothers with no education is twice as high compared to the rate for children of mothers who have completed secondary school.

Connected Education report indicates that the online educational resources provided by Vodafone Foundation through Instant Digital Education Centers for Africa program will benefit more than 50 million children in Africa, India, and Egypt by the year 2025, and that Vodafone Foundation will increase their focus on this area.

Geri Kapat
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