Hyderabad: In the unexceptional but lively classrooms of the Telangana State Model School at Palamakula, barely an hour’s drive from Hyderabad’s IT Corridor that breathes technology, a few students are writing the codes of a digital revolution.
These students, all first generation learners and mostly children of daily wage labourers, auto-rickshaw drivers and some who are touching a laptop for the first time in their lives, are proving that they have programming skills that can match, or even beat, those of engineering graduates.
The 20 students, who according to Principal P. Vishnu Priya, were selected randomly without insisting on any technological background, and for the last 20 days, have been using self-learning tools to master programming languages, including Python, C, C++, and Hadoop among others.
The self-learning tool, along with individual laptops for each of them, was provided by a Hyderabad-based firm that is helping the School Education department in its experiment, which in the words of a senior official, is to find out whether high school students have the skills to do programming.
“We have found that they do have the skills, and in fact, can do better than engineering students,” the official said.
In 20 days, they have learned the basics and have gone beyond expectations, now writing codes on their own and solving problems that are usually given to engineering students, he said.
“This could be disruptive. If they learn programming at this age, using such self-learning tools, their employability quotient is already high and the future of the country itself could change,” the official said.
For Arbaz Khan, a second year MEC student at the Palamakulam TSMS, life has already changed.
“I was touching a laptop for the first time. And now I can do any kind of programming,” says Khan, who says he, being the son of an auto driver, had never thought he would be able to master Python, or even do simple programming, forget working on a laptop.
High confidence levels
“It would be better if it becomes part of our curriculum and all the students can learn,” he adds.
His friends Sanjo Singh, also the son of an auto driver, and C Sindhu, whose father is a labourer, echo his views.
“I didn’t know the basics of using a laptop and never dreamt of working on one. This should be replicated in all government schools,” says an excited Sindhu, while Sanjo says he wants to continue learning programming.
“Their ambitions are already soaring and their confidence is high. We are happy they got such a chance,” adds Principal Vishnu Priya, who says lack of computers for all students is the only stumbling block in going forward with the concept.