A new educational facility and community space in Al Ain will soon begin offering free classes in technology and digital information to the community.

The Innovation Hub is being developed by Al Bayt Mitwahid Association, a community development organisation by employees of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, in collaboration with technology giant Google and education sector regulator, the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

The Hub will be located at the United Arab Emirates University campus’ Science and Innovation Park, and it is expected to open by the end of the year.

“Technology is transforming society at its core, and such a project will allow young individuals to learn about coding, and improve their overall knowledge on technology,” Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, Adec director general, said at a signing ceremony in Abu Dhabi between Al Bayt Mitwahid, Adec and the university.

Project producers at the Hub said that the facility will offer regular classes and workshops related to the development of Android mobile apps in a space known as the App Factory. Attendees aged between 16 and 24 years will also be able to learn coding for the Web, and in virtual reality.

At the Machine Learning area, students will be taught basic machine learning concepts through hands-on experiments. This area is also targeted at older attendees. Over at the Maker Space, students between the ages of 8 and 16 years will be able to learn skills like 3D printing, robotics and laser cutting.

“At Google, we are always excited to see children experiment with technology at an early age because this helps them to develop a passion for it, and use it to solve challenges later in life. With the fast-paced adoption of the internet and mobile app in the MENA, the region needs more young active contributors to technology, especially in areas like machine learning,” said Selim Edde, head of public policy and government relations for Google in the Mena region.

According to statistics discussed at the signing ceremony, nearly 65 per cent of mobile users in the region are aged 25 years or younger.

“The facility can accommodate about 80 students at a time, and we plan to have six sessions every day. In future, we may even extend the courses to include teachers and other adult learners,” said Alex McVey, project producer at brand experience agency Action Impact, which is working with Google.

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