Although Coding and Computer Programming was once considered as a skill reserved for tech-savvy and computer geeks, it has now emerged as one of the crucial tools for the development of overall personality and 21st-century skills among students. Coding has now become an integral part of learning at the school level. Under NEP 2020, Coding has been mandated from grade 6 onward, considering and realizing the necessity of the same in this competitive world. Coding is now being realized as a mindset, rather than a subject. The sudden emergence of coding as a learning tool is a consequence of innumerous technological developments that have taken place in the past few decades.
Understanding the demand for coding and related platforms, it is now being adopted by a majority of students across the globe. Yes, coding is a well-known concept in economically sound countries like the USA, UK, Canada and many more. Talking about India, students coming from metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai have easy access to all the learning resources, but the students belonging to aspirational sections of society face hindrances in having access to quality learning tools and platforms. It is high time where coding platforms should be taking initiatives to set a path for government schools belonging to developing and underdeveloped cities to be able to have access to digital learning platforms.
Coding platforms and organizations should come up with initiatives where student from underprivileged sections can also have access to coding. Here are some ways in which government schools can be assisted in learning vocational programmes –
- Specialized campaigns
Coding platforms should come up with some specialized campaigns that aim at the reinforcement of vocational programmes in government schools. One such campaign is launched by Tinker Coders – Online Coding & Experiential Learning Platform, called as De<Code> the Future campaign. The campaign aims at providing free courses to students coming from underprivileged sections of society. Such campaigns will not benefit the end users, i.e students but also create awareness around the development of educational resources being provided to government schools.
- Collaboration with NGOs
Coding platforms can collaborate with NGOs working around the welfare of child development, and can also tie-up with big corporations, utilizing CSR funds for providing exposure to digital learning platforms to students from aspirational sections of society and government schools in remote areas.
- Providing competitive opportunities
Competitions focusing on key 21st-century skills like Creativity, Critical thinking, Problem-solving skills etc are great ways to engage students and provide them an opportunity to showcase their mettle. It also helps the students have a sense of motivation and boost their confidence to explore more about vocational programmes.
The government and education ministry are leaving no stone unturned in the development of educational infrastructure and providing quality resources to students coming from developing and underdeveloped regions. Coding has also been introduced at the primary school level considering the importance of the same. But due to lack of proper resources, not all the students are able to have access of it. There are many challenges that are faced by students coming from such areas. For example, Language barrier is a major issue in a country like ours. There are 21 regional languages that are spoken in different parts of the country. And English language is used as the medium for instruction of such programs. Therefore, the coding platforms should work around providing courses in regional languages to the students in various parts of the country. This will broaden the reach of coding platforms, helping them to cover a larger number of students across the country. The second big challenge that comes is restrictions on students to stay at homes due to the spread of Corona virus. This can be tackled by providing mobile friendly courses, so that students are do not have availability of computers or laptops at their homes can easily access coding courses. This challenge can be further overcome when the schools will reopen, and students will be able to join the regular classes. The students can then learn coding at the computer labs, or in the Atal Tinkering labs, which has access to Internet as well as computers/laptops.
Following all these steps can certainly help coding platforms to provide ample opportunities to all the students. The development of educational infrastructure should be at the grass-roots level, which will definitely add value towards the empowerment of the youth of our country.