Teaching programming skills to school students has been considered as a long-term solution to the “skills gap” between the surplus IT job opportunities and the students qualified to fill them. As CBSE plans to include Python including coding lessons in the Class XII Computer Science from the academic year 2019, schools and institutions need to think and find ways to integrate technology into the curriculum and classroom.
AI has already come into our lives so the importance of letting students to concept around Python, a popular AI/ML language, early on make more sense. Introduction of Python at school is going to help the coming generations understand good and extreme impacts about a technology that is still under development and being researched and tested rapidly. This will also encourage students to pick AI as a career and hence the initiative to equip school students with the right information and perspective as part of their school curriculum is curtail.
As per the curriculum development team, “The new curriculum would focus on building basic foundational skills with socially relevant projects. This will also allow students to create their own projects using without using difficult programming concepts.” Projects on EMI calculation, financial prediction, accounting for MSME and creating GST invoices in the curriculum aims to improve the overall understanding of real-world scenario. Once implemented, students will get easy access to thousands of templates are available online for free which would make learning more hands-on for them. The curriculum also includes topics related to effects of digital technology, cyber safety & etiquette and responsible use of social media.
The anxiety among parents and schools
Given the positives, this sudden change in the curriculum is causing a lot of anxiety among teachers and parent. Parents are getting worried about finding extra classes for Python in addition to engineering entrance preparations while finding and training teachers has become an issue for the school administration.
Even though Python programming is relatively easier to understand, students and teachers need a quick change in their mindsets. Amidst schools complaining the less time to implement the change, the centre has given a year’s time for schools to adapt to this new curriculum. Till then, schools can continue with the old curriculum while working on the necessary additions to catch up before the next academic session
Teachers remain at the sharp end of the syllabus with any major change to the curriculum. This change in curriculum is going to include tens of thousands of school teachers, new to Python programming being tasked with teaching it to students. The involvement of private players in training teachers has been looked upon as a probable solution to scale the process quickly.
As Python is sure to be a part of the curriculum in all schools latest by next academic sessions, it seems many parents will be surprised when their children come home from school talking about abstract classes, arguments, garbage collection, and expressions. Yet the most important support for students remains to show an interest in what they do at school.