Introducing CITCx : Interdisciplinary Tech Scholarships for Code in the Community graduates
October 30, 2020
Launching CITCx: Interdisciplinary Tech Scholarships for Code in the Community graduates.
Earlier in September, we launched CITCx – interdisciplinary tech scholarships for Code in the Community graduates, formulated with the aim of expanding the exposure kids from disadvantaged backgrounds receive to the intersections of tech and real world topics in STEM.
In this pilot, 60 CITCx scholars completed a 3 day bootcamp – adapted from our new camp Code Explorers 1: Science and the Natural World, which synergises kids’ curiosity about science with the possibilities of code. In each class, kids code up Scratch projects that visualise and process what they’ve learned about topics like marine waste, the digestive system, and clean energy. In the process, they develop creativity, their capacity for self-directed learning, and a growth mindset to take on the world’s big questions as set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. (Shoutout to our sister ed-tech company Doyobi for developing this new curriculum as part of their mission to help kids grow into original thinkers with a sense of purpose.)
Curious what that actually looks like? Hear from Owen, a 15 year old from our first batch of CITCx scholars (and scroll down to the end of the post for a sneak peek from the classroom).
“I enjoy the hands-on stuff for science in school. If we just learn the theory, it may be very boring, because we don’t know how it works in real life.
But when we do practicals, we get to have real-life experience about how things work, and here we actually get to do hands-on stuff such as coding and learn how does things get invented in real life, instead of just using it.”
– Owen, 15
Scholarships that bridge the digital literacy gap, deepen opportunity, and widen access.
Beyond the mandatory 10 hours of digital literacy Singaporean kids complete in school, opportunities to learn how to code and programme are typically priced out of reach for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. With most commercial coding classes for kids averaging around $40 an hour, and often requiring access to hardware that families might not be able to afford, the road towards bridging the digital literacy gap is long.
But with CITCx, we’re taking baby steps to level out the playing field, because we can’t afford to leave any child behind.
What we’ve learned from the first 3 years of running Code in the Community is this:
- While digital literacy is not an examinable subject – it is more urgent than ever.
- For most kids, learning about tech requires ongoing input, practice, and coaching.
- Access to high-touch programmes and to hardware is the heart of the issue.
With that, it’s feedback like this from our pilot that affirms we’re doing something right – even when our goals seem daunting, and our efforts like a drop in the ocean.
“I know what being on the wrong side of the Gini coefficient means and feels like. I’m living in it. Under such circumstances, learning something educational and useful such as coding is a godsend to the underprivileged in the community. ”
-Buddy, CITC parent
Get involved: Together, let’s leave no child behind.
Our goal to bridge the digital literacy gap is a lofty one, and we can’t do it alone.
This pilot was personally sponsored by Caesar Sengupta who heads Google’s Next Billion Users initiative, and the next run of CITCx (December 2020) will be funded by Skyscanner – an organisation that’s remained ever committed to social impact, even through the challenges posed to the travel industry by the pandemic.
We’re excited to harness the collective strength of community to enable kids from all backgrounds to use technology to shape a better future for themselves and others. And as CITCx grows and scales, we’re seeking organisations, companies, and sponsors who care as much about making digital literacy accessible to under-privileged kids as we do. If that describes you, we’d love you to reach out.
In the meantime, check out our 2020 Impact Report, and sneak a peek into our first run of CITCx below.