We’re a group of enthusiastic university students who are passionate about programming and computer science, and we have been participating in a lot of local and regional programming contests. Through our various experiences, we came across the fact that many people in various countries start learning how to program starting from a young age, and the inevitable thought surfaced: Where would we be now had we started when we were their age? For that, we want to give every passionate kid the chance to start learning how to program and never have to regret not doing so. Our first attempt was in 2013, when Maram, one of our founders, went to her high school and promoted the training there, where she gave a How to Program course to around 12 school girls. After the course was complete, two teams (consisting of 3 girls each) participated in a local programming contest. One of the participating girls, Jood Hajeer, was picked to participate in the IOI 2014. She also started teaching her younger sister everything she learnt about programming, and now, she’s also a Codability instructor.
After the ACM Student Chapter was launched in our university, Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT), Codability rose to a whole new level. With the cooperation our university offered, we were able to use the IT labs to give classes and training sessions. We were then 3 trainers and 20 volunteers, and we promoted the camp online with this short video.
Around 120 students from 40 different schools registered before registration was closed. We wanted to teach as many students as possible but we couldn’t handle a larger number as our resources were naturally limited. The students were ranging from 6th graders to 11th graders. We split them into two groups according to their grades (grades 6, 7, and 8 being in one group, and grades 9, 10, and 11 being in the other). Every week during the summer, two classes were given to each group.
However, the biggest obstacle then was money; we were in a zero-budget project. We decided to present our project on a crowdfunding platform for people to read about and donate to, and we managed to raise $1800 worth of donations!
At the end of Codability I, Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC) hosted our graduation ceremony, in which around 52 students, who have all completed the camp, graduated and received their certificates.
In Codability II, we added more courses; Intermediate C++ Programming, IOI, and Web Design. We also promoted the camp online using this short video.
Each student who applied to Codability II had to pass an admission test, and about 80 students were accepted.
Up to this moment, Codability has graduated more than 100 students that never wrote a line of code before! Our students have achieved 14 top-10 ranks in the JOI among the past 2 years (that is 14 out of 20)!
We are starting something that hopefully will never stop, and we will continue passing it on to younger generations that share our vision. We are trying to build this concept of transferring knowledge in every kid we teach. It’s not only about teaching them how to write code, it’s about showing them how to think differently, and that passion is their one-way ticket to the land of infinite opportunities.