First graduates of InIT Project - accessible IT education for people with disabilities

In March 2017 High Technology Technopark IT-Park in collaboration with Regional non-profit organization for people with disabilities “Integration” and with the support of Global Shapers Community Kazan Hub launched an educational project InIT to teach PHP programming for people with disabilities. On July 24th, 2017 after six months of hard work first graduates celebrated a successful course completion in IT Park Kazan and received certificates of additional education.

Educational programme InIT was developed by the IT Academy of IT Park Kazan in accordance with the Russian Federal Education Law and Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities Law, and adapted for students with disabilities, considering characteristics of their psychophysical development, individual opportunities ensuring their social adaptation. The course offered knowledge in PHP programming and JavaScript, HTML / CSS basics, working with database (MySQL), the ability to understand other people's code and much more. Since the training took place in an offline format it was important to provide participants with an accessible environment, comfortable classrooms, an experienced teacher, a sign language interpreter and transfer to and from the venue.

In total, 110 people applied for the InIT programme. Applicants were from all over the Republic of Tatarstan, large Russian cities like Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Bryansk, Syktyvkar, Cheboksary, Sochi, as well as several applications from abroad. As a result, there were two study groups: first one for participants with cerebral palsy, and second one for participants with hearing disabilities. Fourteen people out of 2 groups completed the full course by July.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan - Minister of Information and Communication of the Republic of Tatarstan Roman Shaikhutdinov in his greeting speech for the graduates noted their determination to reach new personal levels: "It is very important that you have the energy to implement interesting projects and a great potential for further development." He wished the graduates to keep in touch with each other, to be curious about the industry and meet only interesting people on their way. Moreover, the Minister approached IT Park management with a request to review programme alumni's CVs and evaluate their acquired skills to help their further integration in IT sector in Tatarstan.

“We believe that InIT Project at this stage is a success. For us it is a unique project – social initiative that we as IT Park Kazan supported with funds and time, and we did it with great pleasure,” – said Anton Grachev, director of IT Park, Global Shaper of Kazan Hub. "We are confident that gained professional knowledge will allow InIT participants to get a junior developer job and we hope that potential employers will be able to evaluate their skillset accordingly by good offers. In future, we want the project to grow and advance, and each new class to further establish and develop the link between a graduate and an employer.

First Deputy Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Protection of the Republic of Tatarstan Marat Gafarov also addressed the InIT graduates with a welcoming speech. "I have studies today your educational plan of the programme, and I want to say that PHP programming that you have learned is a great way to break down the geographical barriers between people and a good way to share your new ideas, projects and develop your community. I hope that you will not stop and will further refine and implement the projects that you presented today”.

“As for all Shapers, it is an amazing experience of social collaboration with people with disabilities. We wanted and hopefully were able to give them the opportunity to gain a new future, expand their horizons and not only develop new skills, but also find new friends and faith in their own strengths. We believe that this project will find a response and support, to allow more people with disabilities to integrate in the sphere of high technologies. The project will continue and currently there are plans for its further expansion to an online platform. Global Shapers Community Kazan is grateful to everyone who became a part of inIT project and proud of its graduates” - says Outgoing Curator Iskander Mardanov.