Phurpa Lhamo 

‘Alien Attacks,’ a game developed by eight-grader Chencho Namgyel Ghalley, won the mini-coding contest held in Thimphu yesterday.

The Drukgyel Lower Secondary School student said that CodeMonkey is fun. “Because my ambition is to be a software engineer, I feel that learning coding will help me.”

Chencho was among 15 participants from schools from across Bhutan selected to take part in the final contest. When the announcement of the mini-contest was made through social media, around 600 individuals came forth. The competition was among Class VII and VII students.

A Ministry of Education (MoE) official said that the competition was held on a small scale because some schools have yet to start learning to code and a bigger contest would be held later this year.

The competition comes after CodeMonkey was introduced in schools in September and November of last year.

His Majesty The King gifted the resources to students to learn how to code.

CodeMonkey was introduced in schools as part of the ICT curriculum and made compulsory for classes VII and VIII.

Starting this academic year, CodeMonkey will be introduced as part of the ICT curriculum from classes PP to VIII.

To meet this target, ICT labs are being built and schools are being connected with the Internet.

To date, 68 percent of the schools across Bhutan, including extended classrooms, have implemented the CodeMonkey lessons.

As of December last year, all 212 lower, middle, and higher secondary schools implemented CodeMonkey, according data with the MoE.

Out of 321 primary schools, 130 have yet to start CodeMonkey lessons. Similarly, out of 69 extended classrooms, only eight have implemented the CodeMonkey lessons.

Information from the MoE showed that all schools in Gasa, and the three thromdes of Gelephu, Thimphu, and Phuentsholing have implemented CodeMonkey.

Achieving a 41 percent coverage, 29 and 13 schools in Mongar and Chukha respectively have yet to implement CodeMonkey.

According to the MoE official, some schools have not yet received CodeMonkey because the schools lack Internet connectivity, infrastructure, and teachers with the relevant training.

To resolve this issue, the construction of labs began through Digital Drukyul Flagship Programme. Computers were also supplied as part of Education ICT programme.

Earlier, as part of the flagship programme, 120 laboratories that either needed to be remodelled or reconstructed were identified. By the end of December last year, 74 laboratories were constructed.

MoE officials said that over 11,000 computers were distributed to schools.