Few days back, I asked a poll question about coding for under 13 kids. Some messaged me in reply and others voted. Majority voted “NO”.

Now, Social Media, can be an echo chamber sometimes. 59 votes and 20 Direct messages might not be reflective of what a diverse nation like India thinks.

Further I would like to share my opinion on this topic.

Pre-pandemic, majority of parents liked to ensure their kids stay invested in the routine school curriculum. Some kids might be involved in extra-curricular activities like sports.

Unfortunately, right from the beginning of the pandemic, kids were one of the most affected group along with hospitality industry. The usual classroom learning system has gone for a toss. Zoom classes are new normal. Exams on paper are long gone. Screen time has simply increased. The need for digital schools has sky-rocketed.

On the supply side, Education Technology companies made most of this opportunity. The pandemic accelerated adoption of their platforms. Many budding startups became Unicorns and Unicorns became Decacorns . The amount of money invested in India’s EdTech Startups alone reached $1.5 billion compared to $409 million from last year as stated by a venture intelligence company.

In the hunt to differentiate themselves, many EdTech businesses started to market their content, platform differently. One thing that stood out is teaching programming or coding explicitly to kids.

Last few months, I even got calls from friends and family, asking my opinion on whether their kids should be given explicit coaching to learn programming, and would it help?

I’m the first engineer in my close circles and many ask me opinion about buying a phone, fixing a printer etc.

Thinking like an Indian Parent

A typical Indian parent, would want to invest in child’s education and think that it is essential for his/her financial growth in future. As we all know, this resulted in many tuition/coaching centers in the country that charge heftily. Not to mention, the IIT/NIT Coaching center craze.

While I appreciate the greater interest or outcome, I don’t agree how an Indian parent is looking at this as another avenue for coaching. Also, some marketing campaigns from these EdTech co’s are cringeworthy.

While I appreciate the greater interest or outcome, I don’t agree how an Indian parent is looking at this as another avenue for coaching. Also, some marketing campaigns from these EdTech co’s are cringeworthy.

Why do I think coding should NOT be a tuition at a young age?

Being a programmer and someone who is playing with computers from last 13+ years, I have come to an opinion that, a developer needs to be more creative to code. It is his creative and logical skills that help him/her wrote better code. If we force things on to kids especially at young age, I don’t think it will yield anything that parents assume.

Kids under 13 years at their scholastic age have tremendous ability to grasp and comprehend new concepts. I believe, it is an important period to get impression on many fields of study. Be it Science, Arts. I’ve seen kids who play, who can handle stress better, who can paint, develop more creative skills. All of these in the due course could help one become a great leader, or a thinker which could in turn produce great innovations.

There are also exceptions to this as mentioned below. But teaching to code with a coaching approach and without adequate creative thinking might make the kid to dissuade this field in future which could be far more dangerous.

Conclusion

However, National Education Policy 2020 has recently included coding in the curriculum from Class 6. Introducing coding from a young age will definitely go a long way. Atal Tinkering Labs initiative by NITI Aayog is a good example of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship in country.

I firmly believe we’re nearing the shores of “All things Digital”. We all need to understand technology and more importantly for a country like India with 5 million developers, it only aids growth. At the same time we need to let kids’ brain evolve naturally by not making it a race to the top.

What do you think?