Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 20 - Page 47

COUNTRY FOCUS: TUNISIA While on an exchange programme in the USA, a Tunisian software engineer became inspired to build something that would make a real difference in her home country. Faten Ghriss subsequently set up Young Tunisian Coders Academy and her passion prompted recognition by the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme. Intelligent CIO spoke to her about that and how technology is being used to boost the Tunisian economy. ////////////////// Young coders lead the way in Tunisia F aten Ghriss was born and raised in Tunis and has lived there ever since. The 26-year-old studied computer network and telecommunication engineering at INSAT in Tunisia’s capital city, which included a one-year exchange course at Minnesota State University in Mankato. However, when she returned to Tunisia, Ghriss noticed the stark differences in education and technology so decided to set up Young Tunisian Coders Academy. “The differences between the USA and Tunisia is terms of education is mainly how flexible I felt education is in the US,” said “ OUR GOAL IS TO SUSTAIN OURSELVES SO THAT WE CAN BE ABLE TO CREATE PROGRAMMES FOR UNDER PRIVILEGED AREAS IN TUNISIA. Ghriss. “For example, in Tunisia, if you enrol for a certain programme, everybody will have the same schedule and will attend the same classes for three, four or five years. I loved the fact that you can choose your classes and schedule them in the US, which makes you able to do other activities in parallel and have a versatile experience. “Tunisia is still behind when it comes to education and access to educational tools. “In many cases, we only start teaching children about computers when they’re 16 years old and this is too late. I believe that it is essential that we show them how INTELLIGENTCIO 47