21,5 percent of Meet & Code participants learn to program for the first time with an ambitious 77 percent of students requesting to learn more.
Taking place from 5 – 20 October, Meet and Code empowers 8 - 24 year olds with 21st century skills they need to participate in tomorrow’s digital world. This year’s Meet and Code highlights saw more than 1,200 code events across 25 European countries, with female participation reaching 47 percent for 2019.
Making Europe more Digital
Born in 2017, Meet and Code sparks the interest of children, teenagers and young adults in digital skills. Co-created and supported by SAP in partnership with Haus des Stiftens gGmbH and TechSoup Europe network of partners, this year’s program totaled 1,221 code events with support from non-profit organizations together with teachers, parents and libraries. Funding of up to 500 euros per event was also provided, enabling free participation to students and children.
“At SAP, we believe in the power of business to solve social issues and trigger systemic change through innovation. Through the Meet & Code initiative, children and young adults have the opportunity to immerse themselves into the digital world from a young age. The program creates an experience that fosters group learning in a fun, interactive and inspiring manner. A key highlight for this year was the female participation at a healthy 47 percent, seeing the initiative making inroads into gender equality in ICT education,” says Alexandra van der Ploeg, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP.
Creativity can Empower a Generation
Before the Meet and Code events, 30 percent of participants rated their coding knowledge skills average to high, however, this dramatically increased after the event to almost double, at 60 percent. While 80 percent of participating non-profit organizations felt they became more aware of new technologies.
Throughout Meet and Code 2019, creativity from the organizers was limitless, proving the impossible was possible with scouts in UK coding a digital compass for navigation and learning how to make a morse code transmitter, children from Italy learnt how to program with their elders and grandparents, and 12 year old students from Poland mastered the art of designing and printing a 3D coral reef.
Meet and Code also encouraged organizers to participate in a friendly competition by coordinating events that illustrated how tech can improve lives through the following categories; Community, Diversity, Girls do IT, Code for your Planet (linked with the Sustainable Development Goals). All finalists will be invited to an Award Weekend in early 2020 and the Meet and Code jury will select the winners who will receive 2,000 euros in prize money.
van der Ploeg adds, “Bearing in mind that 70% of this year’s participants rated their coding knowledge as low, it’s incredibly rewarding to see that 80 percent of Meet and Code students would like to visit again next year – showcasing that code is fun and that Meet and Code really does spark the interest of our youth. Together with our partners, the initiative is a shining example of how we can accelerate our commitments to the UN SDGs, specifically, goal #4 – Quality Education, goal #8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth and we embrace goal #17 – Partnerships for the Goals through collaboration and working together to conquer Europe‘s digital divide.”