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An Oasis for Moroccan Hackers

With its rows of sleek computers and ultra-modern study methods, Morocco’s 1337 campus is a dream come true for budding geeks, in a country where IT skills are in high demand. Conceived as a paradise for coders, the centre offers project-based training on programming, innovation and building IT systems. Tuition is free and students largely create their own curricula. It all happens on a 24-hour campus reminiscent of Silicon Valley, complete with a canteen, graffiti art on the walls and games rooms offering swings and table football. Morocco’s phosphate giant OCP decided to set up the 1337 campus, converting a disused factory in the central mining town of Khouribga in a bid to address the country’s severe need for tech expertise. The name of the centre comes from a system of modified spellings known as Leet Speak or “1337 5P34K”, used by hackers and gamers to show their “elite” status in online communities. The institute works closely with 42, a French programming school created in 2013 by telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel and highly regarded in the tech world. The idea is to attract “the invisible youth, misunderstood geeks who don’t fit into the system and have developed rare skills on their own”, said director Larbi El Hilali.

SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS