Amazon Future Engineer and Code.org join hands to reach underserved students in India
In the first year of its launch, the program plans to reach more than 100,000 students from 900 government and government-aided schools across seven states.
The Amazon Future Engineer program has officially launched in India. Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi participated in an event this week to mark the occasion along with Amit Agarwal, Global Senior Vice President and Country Head for Amazon India, and Kruti Bharucha, CEO of Peepul. Amazon Future Engineer is Amazon’s comprehensive childhood-to-career community program providing students early exposure and access to computer science (CS) education through online and blended learning formats.
“Students from underserved communities in India face disproportionate barriers to education, especially in the field of computer science. We are thrilled to bring the Amazon Future Engineer initiative to India, as we believe that all young people, irrespective of their backgrounds, should have the right exposure and accessibility to quality computer science education,” Agarwal said.
The program will focus on reaching students in government schools (over 51% of the 248 million students in India are enrolled in government schools). Collaborating with the central government, state and local governments, and national and regional nonprofit organizations could enable access to high-quality CS education for over 124 million students in India.
Building a deep network of partners
As part of the new program, Code.org and Amazon have partnered with multiple education-focused organizations to provide CS education to students in government schools across the states of Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana. The initiative will focus primarily on students in grades 6–12 and will also train educators to teach computer science.
The partner organizations that will be using Code.org materials as part of their programs are:
- American India Foundation
- Educational Initiatives
- Learning Links Foundation
- Leadership for Equity
- Pi Jam Foundation
To support these partners in their work, Code.org is advising them on how to use our platform, curricula, and other resources to train students and teachers. We’ll also serve as a knowledge partner by providing lessons learned and other insights gained from our work in the U.S. and the work of our broader global partner network.
“We look forward to working closely with Amazon Future Engineer’s network of partners in India to provide our high-quality computer science curriculum and best practices as they enable students across the country to learn this foundational 21st-century subject,” Partovi said.
Pi Jam Foundation has been a Code.org International Partner since 2018, and we’re excited to deepen our work together as part of the Amazon Future Engineer initiative. Pi Jam Foundation works to equip children and educators with access to affordable technology and high-quality computer science education by developing a curriculum focused on programming, problem solving, and design thinking; conducting workshops; and establishing computer labs — known as Pi Labs — that serve as spaces allowing students to explore, experiment, tinker, and create.
“There has always been a deep level of alignment in terms of what Code.org and Pi Jam Foundation have been working towards,” said Shoaib Dar, founder and CEO of Pi Jam Foundation. “Code.org’s work has been an inspiration and is an excellent benchmark for our work in India and we believe we can collaboratively ensure no child is left without access to CS education in their school years.”
Making Code.org accessible to millions of learners in India
As part of this effort, Code.org has committed to making our courses and materials available to students and teachers in an equitable and locally relevant way. This initially involves translating our more than 400 hours of lessons for primary and secondary education into all major languages spoken in India.
With funding support from Amazon, we’ve already translated our full CS Fundamentals curriculum into Hindi. We also have Hour of Code tutorials and our educational video series available in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. We’ll be working hard over the coming months to add Bengali, Kannada, and Urdu to our list of available languages. Visit our website to see all the resources currently available in these languages.
We recognize that simply translating our content is only the first step in providing a fully localized and culturally relevant experience for students and teachers, so we’ll also be creating dubbed audio for our videos, and in some cases, reshooting videos with native speakers of each language to make the content more approachable and relatable to students in India.
Our team is already hard at work developing solutions so our curricula can be accessed offline. This is especially important in India where only 41% of the population are internet users, according to data from the International Telecommunication Union from 2019. We’ll also be optimizing our content for use on tablets and mobile phones and fostering the creation of complementary curricula to best meet the needs of the local education system in India.
Growing momentum for CS education in India
In July 2020, the government of India released a new National Education Policy (the previous policy was adopted in 1986). The new policy acknowledges India’s leadership role in fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science, and — as an extension — has recommended the introduction of coding and computational thinking in schools in India. This has increased the demand for CS education resources.
Code.org has seen this increased interest on our platform. In January 2020, there were just over 250,000 accounts from India on Code.org (making India 17th in the world in terms of usage). Today there are over 1.5 million accounts (making India 6th). Our team has been amazed by this growth — especially when we reflect on what it represents in the lives of students and teachers — but with a population as large and as young as India’s, we recognize there’s opportunity for tremendous growth in access to and participation in computer science.
We congratulate the Amazon team on the launch of the Amazon Future Engineer program in India. The collaboration between Code.org and Amazon Future Engineer is an important anchor and milestone as we work to deepen our partnerships in India. Code.org will continue to expand and deepen our network of corporate, nonprofit, and government partners to help ensure every student in India — especially those from underserved communities — has the opportunity to learn computer science.
-Jake Bell, Code.org