3,000 students in 100 primary schools in Malaysia will learn how to code this year, said Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

Coding@Schools is a RM10 million pilot (U$2.4 million), first announced during the Budget this year. Next year, the programme will expand to more schools, especially those in rural areas.

500 students out of the 3,000 students will be selected to take part in a national coding challenge from August 14 to 18.

Participants have to build a new website or app on one of four themes – education, environment, healthcare, and science and technology.

“This will provide students with an opportunity to compete and test their coding skills at the national level and to challenge themselves to solve a specific practical problem,” said Mohd Irwan.

“My vision is to create the next generation of game changers and enterprising young individuals who are equipped with the relevant skills to create successful and sustainable ventures,” he added.

Students must go through at least 12 hours of basic programming classes to be eligible for the contest.