Kenyan Startup, Moringa School, is Teaching Pakistanis How to Code

David Afolayan
Kenyan-based Startup, The Moringa School is Teaching Pakistanis How to Code- Quartz

The Moringa School, a Kenya-based for-profit for digital skills training, is rolling out a 20-week full-stack software development course in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a restive Pakistani province bordering Afghanistan.

According to Quartz, The project is part of the government-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Youth Employment Programme, which aims to train 30,000 young people. The scheme which was design to teach basic digital skills to 4,000 people in its first phase in March 2016, was relaunched in October.

Founded in Nairobi in 2014, Moringa has been training African youth in computer skills ranging from the basics of programming to advanced courses such as full-stack Django, a high-level Python framework. So far this year, it has trained over 350 students—in Kenya and via partner institutes in Hong Kong and Ghana. In its hometown, it boasts of a job placement rate of 95%.

Asim Ishaq, deputy director of projects at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board (KPITB) told Quarts that the aim of the programme is “to be able to create at least 50% of jobs in the province through the tech industry”.

Typically, students have to pay up to $1,500 for Moringa courses, but in Pakistan, the government and the World Bank will bear all costs.Also, the mentors will be local and their salaries will be paid by the state.

Moringa’s programme will initially launch in only two or three cities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with 40 seats each. More than 550 applications have already come in. Candidates are rejected if they show “attitude problems or real personality problems,” said Audrey Cheng, who created the institute while remotely assisting a Nairobi-based seed capital fund, Savannah Fund.

Kenyan-based Startup, The Moringa School is Teaching Pakistanis How to Code- QuartzTraining at Moringa runs from around 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays, where a typical day begins with guidance from “tech mentors”—trained software programming professionals. Then, students spend most of the day building projects and their portfolio, instead of being lectured.

If the model works and the local faculty can deliver the goods, the government plans to scale the project up, covering more remote areas in all 26 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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