“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn.”
This quote from world-renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, inspired the Diamond Jubilee High School, Mumbai, to participate in the Hindustan Times’ HT Codeathon in October 2020. The one-of-a-kind coding competition encouraged students from Grades 6 to 9 to gain analytical skills whilst competing for prizes such as laptops and smartwatches.
The school, managed by the Aga Khan Education Service, India, welcomed the opportunity for its students to acquire coding skills. In India, and in schools around the world, the pandemic has greatly altered the education landscape. Teaching with innovative approaches to address the academic content, as well as learning to understand the socio-emotional needs of the students, is at the core of the school’s approach.
Principal Mrs. Nutan Iyer explains that the school aspires to practice carpe diem and urges its young, future leaders and entrepreneurs to make the best use of the opportunities given to them.
Grade 9 student, Asim Sirnaik, who participated in the Codeathon, remarked, “Every website, smartphone application, computer programme and calculator relies on a code. I want to be a one-of-a-kind architect who designs and builds machines in the digital age. The HT Codeathon gave me the platform to engage with programming languages like Python and Scratch from the comfort of my home. It brought me one step closer to my dream.”
As terms such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics permeate our daily life, the time is ripe to delve into the coding world. Coding is an integral part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, and fosters critical thinking, curiosity and creativity. Coding was recently integrated into India’s New Education Policy, allowing students from Grade 6 onwards to learn an important skill whilst preparing them for a world of exciting, technological innovation.
This article was adapted from a story published on the Aga Khan Education Services’ website