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DGDA launches multi-course 'Program Your Passion' initiative
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 29 - 06 - 2022

The Diriyah Gate Development Authority's (DGDA) Community Engagement Department is set to launch the "Program Your Passion" initiative, which aims to train middle and high school students from the Diriyah community, both male and female, in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
This training will help develop the necessary qualifications for these students to join the expanding and dynamic digital technology job market.
To increase the educational value, relevance, and applicability of the program, as well as the interactivity and engagement of the students, this youth-centric initiative is being launched in collaboration with several of the world's most prominent gaming academies.
At its core, the "Program our Passion" initiative aims to convert Diriyah students from consumers of technology to producers and developers of it. The primary objective is to build students' qualifications to a level where they can drive the transfer and deployment of technology throughout multiple disciplines and industries.
With the use of interactive development tools, the program is designed to easily facilitate inclusion, fostering skills built upon the basic principles of science and technology.
"Program Your Passion" is an initiative made up of two main programs: the first introduces the students to the science behind their favorite video games, including the coding, gameplay mechanics, programming, and the implementation of algorithms behind the development of video games.
The second program focuses on designing digital game art, including concept art, 3D modeling, and animation.
Both programs will be taught in Arabic and will cover major concepts related to game development, guiding students through the entirety of the game design process from conceptualization to development of their product and finally testing it.
It will emphasize the key pillars of video game design, including computer science, art, digital music, digital sound effects, storytelling, designing animated characters and environments, and the basics of filmmaking, giving participants a holistic experience as video game developers.
Before the launch of the initiative, 12 Saudi male and female instructors will be enrolled in the "Trainer's training" program, a set of training workshops that will prepare them to become course instructors, supervised by global experts, thus helping to build training capacity further and achieve sustainability throughout the project's duration.
The Initiative's two programs will be held in collaboration with the DigiPen Academy in Diriyah. The courses include an after-school program for high school boys and girls on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
Another after-school course will be for middle school boys and girls on Mondays and Wednesdays. A weekend course will be available exclusively for high school students on Saturdays.
DigiPen offers more than 100 curricula and programs, presenting kids of all ages with a unique, structured experience that helps them build upon basic academic competencies.
Each student receives a customized working plan based on their individual capabilities and performance in class. Intensive "learning-by-doing" workshops allow students to lead the development of their projects as a way to gain practical skills.
Trainers track students' progress based on their performance in three basic skills.
Ahlam Al Thunayyan, director of the Community Shared Values department at the DGDA, stressed that the Authority is keen to start quality initiatives that reflect positively on the Diriyah community, which is in line with the Vision 2030 objective of creating a dynamic society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.
She pointed out that the "Program Your Passion" initiative is just one of many that the DGDA has initiated and expects the program to be a great success.
The initiative is bound to not only build community interest in game design but will also spread awareness regarding the huge employment potential in the digital gaming industry, showing parents and students the lucrative and rewarding careers available in the industry.
She stressed that the projects students develop could become very popular, spreading beyond the classroom and the Kingdom. She further stated that the initiative would help build capabilities within the Diriyah community to use digital skills to promote students' rich culture and heritage. — SPA

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