ASTANA – Yandex, Russia’s largest technology company, launched its Yandex.Lyceum computer programming educational programme in early October in physics and mathematics schools in the capital and Almaty. Eighth and ninth grade students will study programming basics and write an app with graphic user interface.
“We want to share the practical knowledge and skills we have accumulated at Yandex. We are confident that the dissemination of knowledge is a great way to make the world better. Education can become accessible and exciting with the help of our technologies,” said Yandex.Lyceum head Marina Suslova prior to the opening.
The two-year curriculum, developed by the Yandex School of Data Analysis, is divided into two parts – the basics of Python programming and fundamentals of industrial programming. Each course lasts a full academic year and must be taken sequentially.
Programming skills are necessary not just for those who want to work in the IT sector, according to Suslova. Young qualified personnel with practical experience in advanced technologies are in demand in all fields.
“The Yandex.Lyceum project is the company’s initiative, but we launch the projects if there’s great interest and support from local educational partners,” she said.
After testing the pilot project in several Russian cities last year, the company received a number of proposals to open schools in other urban areas.
“Currently, the education process is in full swing. The students perform tasks in the classroom and at home. At the end of the course, they should know the types of data and be able to work with them. The programme is not focused on preparing for Olympiads or competitions. It is aimed at creating a child’s thought process so that he or she can use the operators and solve problems. Python is good at making mobile applications and problem solving,” said Astana Yandex.Lyceum coordinator Gulnur Aubakirova in an Oct. 26 interview.
The course involves rigorous selection procedures for local teachers, who are Olympiad prize winners with extensive knowledge and experience. They will participate in trainings throughout the school year, including educational seminars, webinars and a series of test works.
“Children are very enthusiastic and do all the tasks properly. They are so motivated. We did a mailing to all schools about the audition at the beginning of the school year. More than 200 applications were submitted and 30 students were enrolled. We already have those who want to take part in next year’s audition,” she added.
The courses are free of charge. Classes are held twice a week and can be combined with the school programme. Students must pass an online test designed to test the individual’s ability to think logically and analytically and then be interviewed.
The pilot project was implemented in four cities last year. Currently, there are 60 lyceums in 27 Russian and Armenian cities and two schools in Kazakhstan.
Yandex.Lyceum was developed with the participation of School of Data Analysis, a Yandex educational project. The more than 600 specialists who have studied there since 2007 are now working in IT companies in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other countries.