Coding is an essential skill for students: Vivek Varshney
Coding, the tech language of the future, is used for writing instructions for computers and devices to perform tasks. In the 21st century, coding is considered to be an important skill for school children and so it has been incorporated in their curriculum as well.
In order to make the coding easier and more accessible to students across the country, Hindustan Times had launched an initiative in October 2020 known as Code-a-thon. This year again the coding Olympiad commenced on August 31 and for this event, Hindustan Times collaborated with SpeEdLabs, an AI-based practice and learning platform. Vivek Varshney, the founder of SpeEd Labs, talks to Hindustan Times and reflects on the importance of coding skill for kids and the relevance of initiatives like code-a-thon.
NEP 2020 has focussed on including coding in the school curriculum. What led to this trend, according to you?
As technology advances, all job sectors are headed towards automation, making coding a must-know skill for students. It also boosts children's logical thinking and creativity. All service consumption behaviour will be personalised and technology-enabled around the world. As a result, we'll have to create and develop apps. Therefore, a basic understanding of coding will be important for all domains.
In our country, which is digitally divided, how can we ensure that students get to pick up a new-age skill like coding?
India has already surpassed 60% internet penetration. Device penetration is also increasing with gradually. The majority of schools have basic computer literacy infrastructure. Most importantly, society is becoming more conscious of technology and its implications. This is why parents and educators should strive for a perfect balance of fundamental coding education and advanced coding education alongside the traditional curriculum.
How to dispel the notion that coding is difficult to master?
Learning to code is easier than it was previously. Thanks to block-based coding, 10-year-olds are now designing coding programmes and publishing apps on App stores. It's the ideal platform for introducing coding to a youngster at an early age. There are different levels of coding, but it all begins with a basic concept design, a structure flow of activities, and then logical thinking about relating various actions. So, for a middle school student, coding has become easy.
What is the whole idea behind participating in Hindustan Times Code-a-thon 2021?
Personalized and conceptual learning is the bridge between dreams and capabilities. The HT Code-a-thon reaches out to young pupils all around the country with the goal to encourage them for learning coding and build initial their interest at an early age. This is a powerful mission, and SpeedLabs is proud to be a partner in this endeavour. We believe these extra-curricular learnings in this competition will make a strong positive impact on the students.
What do you think about an initiative like HT Code-a-thon in the world we live in?
Competitions are beneficial to students as they encourage them to be more creative and study further. India intends to lead global innovation in all sectors in the next ten years. As a country, we want to be the innovation engine for the next two decades. It is, therefore important that we build excitement about technology and innovation and start nurturing the students from the very right age. Conceptual introduction to coding is the most important building block of this overall mission. We believe that each and every student should get to know what coding is. Code-a-thon is a perfect blend of learning, workshops and participation in a national level competition.
Initiatives taken by SpeEd Labs to spread digital literacy?
Our co-founders are computer science textbook authors that teaches students on how to be digitally cautious and construct apps and websites. We've taught lakhs of students to develop games and apps through free seminars in schools. In the next 12 months, we hope to teach coding to 1 million or more students.