In the beginning of September we covered ProgeTiiger, the initiative with the goal of giving all Estonian schoolchildren between first and 12th grade with a basic understanding of computer programming. But now EMT, Elion (both of which are Estonian TeliaSoneara brands), and Microsoft have chipped in €90 000 to support ICT related after-school hobby groups aimed at 10-19 year olds. The project is run by Vaata Maailma and will focus on robotics and programming.
The idea here is to foster over 500 students' interest in technology the same way they may participate in arts and sports after school. Over half of the participating groups are focusing on robotics, while others are focused on mobile apps, websites, and programming in general. Individual interest groups are focused on more specific areas, like 3D modeling and computer engineering.
Robotics are not a cheap hobby, which is why it's great to see this support from corporations with a presence in Estonia. Fostering a lifetime of interest in technology for 500 students for €90 000 will likely pay huge dividends for these companies and Estonian society.
Here in Finland we like to pat ourselves on the back with how well we foster startups and technology for college students onward, but Estonia is jumpstarting a generation with technical talent. Should the rest of the world be concerned? Well let me say publicly that I, for one, welcome our new Estonian robot overlords.
More information can be found about the project in Estonian, here.
Top image cc licensed by by john yaya on Flickr.