Acting Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum delivers his keynote address.
The Acting Prime Minister of Fiji, Honourable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum inaugurated the first ever Coding Carnival at The University of the South Pacific (USP) on 24 September 2016.
The Coding Carnival is a Microsoft Initiative at USP. Launched in July 2016, by USP’s School of Computing, Information and Mathematical Sciences (SCIMS), Microsoft Initiative at USP is aimed at empowering students with additional skills that the industry expects from graduates and to give them the edge to compete amongst job seekers.
During his keynote address, Honourable Mr Sayed-Khaiyum stressed the importance of understanding the fundamentals.
“If you look at most societies where Information Technology and Computing (ITC) has taken a huge lead, there must be the fundamentals in place before people can actually actively participate because power of technology is such that it basically breaks down all boundaries that people have,” Honourable Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He added that it gives one the power to think outside the norm.
The Acting Prime Minister shared an example of a young person from Labasa who wrote the MPaisa programme for Vodafone.
Honourable Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted that in order for people to be able to think outside the box, there must be a legal framework within which they operate that must give them that opportunity.
He further mentioned that the issue of accessibility to fundamental services to help people participate in the market place is critical.
He told the students present at USP’s Australia-Pacific Lecture Theatre that, “the gap between you and someone living in remote areas is getting much wider.”
Students attempt the first round of test at the Coding Carnival.
Honourable Mr Sayed-Khaiyum added that, today the accessibility that the people living in urban areas have in their fingertips is far greater than what some people might have. This, he said, is one of the Fijian Government’s challenges and it is what they are focused on.
“We are focused on connecting people who are unconnected,” he said.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra said that the Microsoft Initiative at USP is a very invaluable initiative in exposing the students to Microsoft tools.
“Increasingly universities are providing more and more opportunities for students outside their normal curriculum and this is one such example of us and our students having access to materials that they can use to make their experience at USP better and to get certifications that complement the qualifications they will get from the University,” Professor Chandra said.
He also emphasised that such opportunities will also make the graduates more ‘employable’.
Professor Chandra noted that the University should look at whether it can work with Ministries of Education in regional countries to see whether these opportunities can also flow out to the Secondary and Primary schools.
The Vice-Chancellor also acknowledged Dr Dhenesh Subramanian at SCIMS, whose personal effort was the Microsoft Initiative at USP.
“Dhenesh is the kind of staff we want at USP - one person can make a huge difference,” he said.
The following teams are the winners of the Coding Carnival:
· First place – Team MalBit – Shahil Avishal Pravind and Martin Feussner
· Second Place – Team Void Programmers – Summet Chand and Ravishal Prasad
· Third Place – Team Chai-Yo – Sumeet Kumar and Ram Singh
· Fourth place – CodeBros – Salman Raza and Noneel Prasad
The best dress code award was scooped by Team Fiji – Sumeet Sandeep Prasad and Mohammed Jamsid.
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