Morocco’s Silicon Valley does not depend on lessons or professors… Get to know School “1337”

A 24-hour, teacher-less, unscheduled programming and coding school set up by OCP Group to meet the country’s technological expertise needs.

Mariam Altaidi

3/21/2021

Nicknamed “Silicon Valley” synonymous with the term high-tech companies, it is a unique university institution, its distinction begins with its name “1337” or as its pioneers pronounce it divided “13” then “37”, a coded name where each number corresponds to a letter, meaning “elite”.

The Foundation for Programming and Coding operates 24 hours a day without professors and was established by the OCP Group in order to meet the country’s needs for technological expertise.

It does not require official certificates, it selects students based on tests of logic, memory, and motivation, then tests them, for a month, in a transitional phase that determines the continuity, called the “pool”, during which students dive deep into a new educational method completely different from what they are accustomed to in schools and other institutions.

No professors, no departments and levels

On a visit to the “1337” Foundation located in the Phosphate City of Khouribga (the school is located in the cities of Khouribga and Ibn Jarir), Al Jazeera Net examined closely how the Foundation’s students spend their time, how they organize their own, and how they embark on their achievements on the basis of self-reliance and responsibility in independence and freedom and innovate in developing applications and games.

Fatima Al-Zahraa Qarawash, an educational official within the technical and technical supervision team and also a student of programming, told Al Jazeera Net: “1337 is a new world, which I have not seen before, it is not only a school, it is a revolution in education in Morocco and in Africa as a whole.”

The teaching philosophy of 1337 is governed by the Global 42 Initiative, which was founded in 2013 by an initiative led by the digital industry in France.

The teaching method of 1337 is based on peer learning or cooperative education, and Adnan Al-Saghir (from the school team) explains to Al Jazeera Net that the peer learning system does not depend on a professor, and is based on cooperation between students to find solutions to the challenges they face.

Adnan adds that in the cooperative education system, the student is a learner and a teacher at the same time, and the student gains self-reliance and independence.

On the homepage of the 1337 website, you will see a sentence in Moroccan spoken language, which means “I code, you code, we code,” referring to cooperation and teamwork. The school confirms in all its data that the keyword for access is creativity.

Adnan Al-Saghir is part of the educational and technical supervision team (Al-Jazeera)

Entrepreneurship and applications

The school, which began receiving students in 2018, consists of open spaces equipped with computers dedicated to work, and other spaces for entertainment, and not far from the main building. The Foundation launched a laboratory to develop innovative entrepreneurship, ideas for companies, and modern applications.

The students of 1337 do not believe in the impossible, they say that they are open to existing technologies, and those that will exist in the future; Because the world of technology is constantly evolving, and the skills they acquire help to find solutions to all problems.

1337 students consider application development to be the engine of digital life, and 1337 students have contributed to applications that have been used nationally, such as the “Massar” application, which is currently relied on in education, and the “Wiqayatina” (our prevention) application launched by the Ministry of Health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fatima Al-Zahraa Al-Mahdawi, who started her academic career with “1337” in 2019, says that she learned programming in advanced ways, along with a team of her colleagues, she contributed to the development of many applications that help people.

Fatima was among the team that developed the “Massar” application for the advancement of the educational system in Morocco. During her conversation with Al Jazeera Net, Fatima Al-Zahraa considers that the method of operation is based on overcoming the difficulties of the programs and finding solutions to all obstacles.

Fatima Al-Zahraa Garwash, student and technical officer (Al-Jazeera)

As for Ayoub Elwi, he is following his project from inside the school lab. Ayoub heads a company specialized in the manufacture and games development.

He believes that the 1337 environment helped him to learn quickly and that the structure and methods adopted helped him to develop. In his interview with Al Jazeera Net, Ayoub said, “The 1337 lab is a space in which we work, hold our meetings, and communicate with other project holders and entrepreneurs for greater competitiveness and good integration.”

Ayoub Elwi, a game developer from inside Lab 1337 (Al-Jazeera)

Source: Aljazeera.net (Original Content -Arabic)

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