By Sam Bridge
ADEK chief says opening of 42 Abu Dhabi in 2021 signals commitment to next-generation education
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has announced that the UAE capital will open the first GCC campus of the internationally renowned 42 Network of coding and computer programming schools early next year.
42 Abu Dhabi will welcome students in February 2021 and the new campus is an initiative of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s three-year government accelerators programme that aims to fast-track the emirate’s economic transformation through investments in the economy, knowledge, and community to support business, innovation, and people.
The purpose-built 42 Abu Dhabi campus will offer a revolutionary approach to divergent and gamified learning in the heart of the UAE capital’s historic Mina Zayed warehouses district, state news agency WAM reported.
The school will follow the tuition-free model of coding and programming education pioneered by French billionaire Xavier Niel, who founded the inaugural campus in Paris, École 42, in 2013.
Since then, the 42 network of schools has grown to more than 20 globally, with 42 Abu Dhabi being the first of its kind in the GCC, which will accommodate up to 750 students once fully operational.
"Establishing 42 Abu Dhabi underlines our commitment to provide next-generation education pathways to strategically upskill and nurture a future-ready workforce on a local and regional level," said Sara Musallam, chairman of ADEK. "By making coding and code-thinking accessible to people of all levels and abilities, 42 Abu Dhabi embodies the emirate’s vision for a tech-enabled business ecosystem and contributes to our leaders’ vision to build a secure and confident society that is competitive, sustainable and open."
The announcement is the latest bilateral milestone in the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue which aims to enhance innovative exchange in sectors including culture, education, advanced sciences, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, medtech and agritech.
"Our strategic partnership with France has always emphasised education, expertise exchange, and technology and innovation, with particular focus on those specialties that contribute to the UAE’s long-term growth and economic diversification. 42 Abu Dhabi is an outcome of that shared ambition," said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, and co-chair of the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue.
Ludovic Pouille, the French Ambassador to the UAE, added: "It is no secret that the UAE and France have an extraordinary history of collaboration and shared ambitions in areas such as culture, technology advancement and multi-sector industry development. In strengthening the strategic bond between our countries, 42 Abu Dhabi will deliver an innovative education benchmark to further enhance our nations’ productive bilateral relations for years to come."
The 42 learning methodology has previously been endorsed by global tech luminaries including Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snapchat, Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Keyvon Beykpour, co-founder and CEO of Periscope, and Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb.
Sophie Viger, CEO, 42 Network, said: "In Abu Dhabi, we have found the perfect partner to expand our mission and values to a new world of coders across the Arabian Gulf."
No previous coding experience is required of 42 Abu Dhabi students but must be curious, committed, proactive, and creative, and must possess an innate ability to adapt and collaborate, said Majid Al Shamsi, director of Higher Education Business Development at ADEK.
Candidates interested in applying to 42 Abu Dhabi, must be 18 years old and above, and can register at www.42AbuDhabi.ae.
Successful pre-selection candidates are then invited to The Piscine, an immersive month-long programme testing motivation, endurance, and commitment.