About 52,000 participants from 57 countries compete and display IT skills in International programming Olympiad

Posted February 22, 2022

Bishkek, 22 February 2022 - About 52,000 young students from 57 countries exercised their IT-skills and competed for a prize fund of $10,000 at the International Programming Olympiad "BalaTech'' (www.balatech.org) on February 19th, 2022. Overall, 189 winners from 10 countries (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Moldova, Russia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan) were identified based on different age-categories.

The Olympiad was carried out online by UNDP in partnership with Code Generation for school children in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries; though it was attended globally.

The partnership covered participation in the BalaTech Olympiad which, as well as the provision of preparatory materials, was free of charge. All participants could access the BalaTech platform through a smartphone and basic internet access to learn programming in an engaging and interactive way through 10 learning modules with 175 gamified tasks.

Almaz Beishenaliev, Kyrgyzstan’s Minister of Education and Science, said at the opening of the Olympiad: “[The] BalaTech platform helps youngsters develop digital skills, that are highly needed in the future. It also contributes to fill up the relevance gap of our education system and give students additional learning. Similar initiatives are valuable, as these can stimulate youth’s interest in programming. If these initiatives were all realized, youth of Kyrgyzstan tomorrow would be decently employed, would find their own spaces in communities, and they would have even more opportunities to deploy new technologies towards right directions.”

Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Kyrgyzstan’s Resident Representative said: “Digital is the new context and the future for development. To amplify and accelerate momentum built on Digital Transformation to date, UNDP launches its new Digital Strategy 2022-2025 with a bold vision. The future depends on all of us. Let’s continue to scale what works, form new partnerships and focus on ensuring that Digital Transformation is inclusive and leaving no one behind.”

Shigeki Maeda, Ambassador of Japan to the Kyrgyz Republic, shared: "What was once thought to be a dream is now a reality. This is what innovation has made possible. Programming skills are one of the most important bases of connecting and collaborating with people all over the world to lead to innovation. You are the ones who make the future! Together with your Japanese friends, I hope that "International Programming Olympiad BalaTech" will be the first step in creating the future."

Recognized by UNDP’s as one of the ten most impactful digital solutions in 2021, BalaTech was able to enhance its users’ experience with a better UX design and learning algorithms, with support from UNDP and from the Government of Japan. 

The platform is designed to be gender sensitive to encourage more girls to learn programming so as to tackle the increasing digital divide. As a result, girls represented 41% of the participants, a far higher rate than any other international programming competition.

Sanjar Mamatov, the 24-year-old CEO of Code Generation and the initiator of BalaTech, said: “We raise generations who are eager to create a new world and think outside the box. They will create innovative products that humanity will benefit from and will be exported around the globe.”

On 19 February 2022, shortly before the start of the International Olympiad, unexpected DDoS-attacks targeted the BalaTech platform. A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) is a form of cyber-attack that overloads the system by flooding the server with fraudulent traffic, which causes the system to be unresponsive, and sometimes to shut down. After two hours of emergency response, the platform was restored, and the Olympiad continued with an extended timeframe to allow participants to complete the competition.

True to the principle of “leaving no one behind”, the organizing team of BalaTech will hold an additional Olympiad round with $5,000 prize fund in two weeks for students who experienced technical difficulties resulting from the DDoS-attacks.

Overall, BalaTech successfully engaged about 52,000 students from 57 countries to learn programming in the past months. The Olympiad is not the end of their learning journey. BalaTech platform remains open for all children and youth from all over the world to learn programming for free(.

List of laureates (pending second round of Olympiad)

Overall, there are 189 winners from 10 countries (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Moldova, Russia, Singapore, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan) with top performance identified based on different age-categories:

Junior group from grade 5 to 7 grades

GOLD

●      Ihsan Raimbekov - laptop; trial testing for study in Italian Universities.

●      Aykhan Nurlanova - smartphone; trial testing for study in Italian Universities.

●      Kerim Ata - smartphone; trial testing in for study in Italian Universities.

Middle group from grade 8 to 9

GOLD

●      Nursultan Narynbaev - laptop; trial testing for study in Italian Universities.

●      Mirgul Usubalieva - smartphone; trial testing for study in Italian Universities.

●      Aidos Nurlanov - smartphone; trial testing in for study in Italian Universities.

Senior group from grade 10 to 11

GOLD

●      Daniyar Beishekeyev – $2,000 discount for studying at American universities (City University of New York Queens Campus, Richard Bland College of William and Mary, University of Massachusetts); Free career guidance consultation; Testing for scholarship at the Italian Universities

●      Bekbolot Aipidinov – €1,000 discount for studying in Lancaster University in Germany; Free career guidance consultation; Testing for scholarship at the Italian Universities.

●      Aman Urumbekov - £1,000 pounds discount in studying at British Universities (Anglia Ruskin, Brunel, Hertfordshire, Portsmouth, Keele и Swansea); Free career guidance consultation; Testing for scholarship at the Italian Universities

*The rest of the winners can be found at the official website of BalaTech (www.balatech.org).

About BalaTech:

BalaTech is a multilingual educational platform for children and youngsters to learn programming in an interactive way among peers. BalaTech makes learning experience fun and engaging through gamification and UX design. We kindly remind you that “BalaTech” is recognized by the UNDP “Digital x Scale Accelerator” as one of the ten most impactful digital solutions in 2021, with the generous support from the Government of Japan. Accelerator Lab UNDP Kyrgyzstan

For media queries please contact Ainagul Abdrakhmanova at ainagul.abdrakhmanova@undp.org

Live Broadcast of the Balatech Olympiad