The main role of the educational system is to prepare children for future challenges, make them responsible human beings and teach them to be productive citizens of society. With rapid technological advancements, it has become mandatory to equip the students with the skills and knowledge needed for them to sustain and excel in the futuristic jobs accelerated by these advancements. Recently, the Education Ministry has introduced the New Education Policy (NEP) where coding is being introduced from class 6 as a 21st-century vocational skill. This integration is a very calculated step as the need for analytical skills, creativity, logical thinking etc is increasing exponentially. The introduction of coding and increasing exposure to technology at a young age will expand the horizons for the youth, as they will be able to explore a new world of innovation and creativity.
Coding: Basic literacy in the digital age
Over the years, the definition of literacy has changed significantly. Literacy is defined as the ability to read and write. In the 21st-century, literacy is being defined as the ability to program and work with computers. In this world of Artificial Intelligence and Automation, the nature of jobs will be completely changed. The machines and robots will be doing most of the work, and we humans will be optimizing, instructing and moderating their work. This paradigm shift is happening mainly because of the digitalization. According to data provided by the World Advertising Research Centre, around 2 billion people currently access the internet via their smartphone alone. These figures indicate the increasing use of internet and technology. With this ever-rising usage of internet, technology, more companies are coming into action providing services and products to enhance the user experience, which is a reason why there is an upsurge in coding based jobs, as compared to the other jobs. According to a report by the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), beginning from next year, the tech industry will add another three million jobs in the upcoming years, which will result to the size of 7 million tech-professionals by 2023.
Learn through coding – A global phenomenon
Coding is a proven tool to enhance 21st-Century skills like Logical Thinking, Creativity, Analytical skills, Computational Thinking etc. Understanding computers and learning the basics of coding helps children develop a comprehensive understanding of how things work. Critical thinking, a fancy way of saying good thinking, is a skill that can be developed with the help of coding. With the help of block-based programming, kids can understand the cause and effect relationships and can explore a whole different list of options. Creativity, the most sought skill of the 21st-century, is also a skill that can be developed with coding. One of the key processes in creativity is experimentation. With coding platforms, students can communicate their thoughts on the canvas, and experiment with the different tools to achieve the best output. The purpose of introducing coding at an early age is not to make future techpreneurs and software engineers. Coding is a medium for students to understand the underlying concepts of science and mathematics as they continue to build solutions inspired by their surroundings. Coding also involves understanding and application of mathematics, which boosts our performance in academics and increases our analytical skills. While learning to code, students utilise different skills like pattern recognition, sequencing etc to solve complex problems. This is the reason why coding is being introduced as a vocational subject because the students will be able to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom and see the practical implication of it. This will also help realise the importance of experiential learning in schools. The world needs more problem-solvers and innovators than consumers. The ability to solve problems is a trait that would be required in the years to come. Coding, as being introduced at an early age, will help identify the round-pegs in the square holes, and motivate students to become thinkers and tinkerers. This will help our youth to be prepared for any challenges and adversities they might face in the future.