In the age of digitalisation, having digital literacy as a part of your curriculum has become crucial in itself. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic taught us that almost every field today can function on a virtual platform — albeit with minor glitches here and there! We spoke to Mr Nishant Rathi, founder & director at Neosoft, about his insights on the subject. Here's what he had to say:
1) Several initiatives have been taken to introduce coding to children at a very young age. Why, according to you, is it important as a skill for children?
Learning to code is a matter of basic literacy in this digital age. Kids today have grown up surrounded by technology. It is only natural for them to be proficient at taming it — and that is what coding is. Coding boosts linguistic skills, logic, reasoning power and builds problem-solving and resilience at a very young age. Thereby, it is a vital skill for kids that helps them prep for the future.
2) Do you think that schools today are equipped with resources to teach coding? If no, what should they be doing to amp it up?
Before the Industrial Revolution 1.0, only 10 per cent of schools taught maths — which, obviously, changed. The situation is remarkably similar for the Industrial Revolution 4.0 with respect to coding. With the advent of the 'Digital India' initiative, schools are now catching up with the shifting-paradigm and introduced digital literacy as a vital part of their curriculum. However, we are not there yet. Educational institutions will have to update their curriculums. They will need to focus on integrating current and advanced tools to learn and practice the technologies relevant today.
3) How should students prepare themselves before opting to learn coding/programming?
Today, there is no lack of fun coding-based games and dedicated coding-learning apps for kids to get started. Most popular LMS platforms have a wide range and variety of courses designed specifically to teach coding to kids. Popular EdTech apps have visual and interactive lessons to introduce coding to kids, as well. Another trend to get kids started on coding is boot-camps that emphasise providing them with a hands-on learning experience.
4) Do you think coding is relevant to non-STEM subjects?
The jobs that are highly in demand today — in the field of analytics, AI, ML, AR, VR, and a lot more — didn't even exist 5-10 years ago. At the current pace with which technology is advancing, reports predict that 65 per cent of today's kids would be working in jobs that we cannot even visualise right now. However, most of them integrate with technology in some way or another. The ability to code doesn't just give you an edge in the IT sector; it also lends an edge to designing, marketing, analysis, business, infrastructure, finance, and most other non-technical fields.
5) What would be your advice to children who are interested in coding?
The Industrial Revolution 4.0 is already here, and we can only keep up with it or risk getting left behind with history. Coding is the prime language of this era — learning it, irrespective of your fields of interest in the future — is the only way to help you walk hand-in-hand with the advancing times.