A project to introduce code education at elementary schools in Basra Province, as well as promoting educational projects that cover different demographics to encourage the fostering of IT human resources and employments in Iraq

As of September 17, 2021, Castalia has been adopted as the partner of JGC Corporation (Representative Director, President: Yutaka Yamazaki), a company that offers EPC business for various plants and facilities overseas, for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities associated with their ongoing Basra Refinery Upgrading Project in Basra Province, Iraq.  The CSR activities include the offering of code education to elementary school students in Basra Province, and to promote IT education/training in Iraq, with the help from JGC Corporation.

Elementary school students in Basra Province

■ Background story of the introduction of IT education

The fall of academic standards in post-war Iraq has been noticeable. Along with the increase of the youth population, investments in education have been deficient, especially in Basra Province. Most noticeably, cutting-edge education such as STEM and 21st-century education is barely available. In addition, the youth's unemployment rate is high, which makes it difficult for them to find jobs even with a college degree. Thus learning coding as an IT skill will lead directly to future employment. 

Basra is the second largest city in Iraq located in the southern-eastern part of the country. 
It is one of the major oilfield areas in the world.  The map is from Google Map.

■Castalia's advantages

Castalia's original code education material uses a robot that moves to the orders made by paper and pen.  It allows us to smoothly introduce code education to elementary school students even without PCs, tablets, or access to the Internet.   We will also nurture teachers capable of providing code education to elementary school students.  And by doing so, we will contribute to the fostering of local human resources. 

Castalia has a wealth of experiences in overseas projects and is thoroughly versed in the smooth implementation of projects abroad.  In addition, in the Middle East, we have feasibility researches and business plans in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.  Furthermore, our services are available in Arabic, and we have both Arab and Japanese staffs who are familiar with the language, which led to our adoption to this project.

Class at a public elementary school

■The project

  1. CSR project
    We will offer code education beginners' classes at elementary schools in Basra.  Here, we will focus not on the coding technique but the nurturing of computational thinking.  Gaining computational thinking will raise the standards of basic academic skills.
    We will also offer a training course of code education instructors targeting local school teachers to foster local teaching human resources.
    This project is slated for a March 2022 launch as a two-year term.
  2. Business development
    We will hold code education workshops at learning community centers, targeting children who aim to become coders.  Here, children will learn the steps following the acquisition of computational thinking, all the way up to the JavaScript coding language.
    We will also utilize such centers as the places for self-learning, online learning, and for question-and-answer sessions, where children can be rest assured to concentrate in their studies.   The services will be offered subscription style to secure the creation of local jobs and the localization of business.  Starting from Basra, we aim to expand the business to entire Iraq and ultimately the Arab world. 
    This business is slated for an August 2022 launch.

Japanese elementary school students learning with Castalia's code education material

■Basra Refinery Upgrading Project in Basra Province, Iraq

Although Iraq is one of the world's leading oil producing countries, the two refineries currently in operation have lost their production capacity due to war damage and aging, and therefore not able to meet the domestic demands of petroleum products, relying on the imports of gasoline and other petroleum products. 
JGC Corporation will newly construct a new unit in the vicinity of the existing Basra Refinary, in order to increase the production of light oil. 
Upon the implementation of this project, JGC plans to conduct skill training for the total of more than 1,000 Iraqis and to hire approximately 7,000 skilled Iraqi workers.  The completion of the project expects to create more than 2,000 jobs as operational personnel, which will contribute to the solution of the unemployment problem in Iraq.

Ref: JGC Holdings' press release, August 12, 2020

JGC Corporation's CSR projects 

With "Working with local communities around the world" as their agenda for material issues in social initiatives,  JGC group is actively involved in projects that make contributions to the local communities, especially in emerging countries and especially in countries where they build plants.   In the aforementioned Basra Refinery Upgrading project, cooperation with the local community is imperative in order to smoothly implement the construction.
JGC Corporation believes that providing children and students with learning opportunities is an effective, long-term contribution to the needs of the local community, and selected Castalia as their partner that has a wealth of experiences in overseas projects and has established the know-how of advanced educational business.