Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Early Age Programming initiative is running successfully across 300 Elementary and Secondary Schools in KP. In the advent of the digital era, the orthodox and outdated computer science curriculum being taught at schools has become irrelevant to the rapidly evolving and in-demand digital skills. Digital technology has emerged as the single biggest market disruptor and it has not only changed the way we interact with the world around us but has also redefined literacy and competency required to participate in the society as useful citizens.
As we inch towards digitization, it becomes paramount that we bridge the digital divide across the various socio-economic classes of the society by imparting digital literacy and relevant digital skills. This shift in priority needs to be reflected in the curriculum adopted at public schools in order to stay at par with current trends. Coding and Programming are essential tools of computer science. The emergence of drag and drop computer programming has enabled easier learning for coding languages and kids can learn to code using visual code blocks that represent real programming concepts. This particular concept of block coding forms the very essence of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board’s (KPITB’s) Early Age Programming initiative.
KPITB in collaboration with the Elementary & Secondary Education department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa launched the Early Age Programming project in 2017. In the first phase of the project, KPITB successfully trained 3000 students in 60 public schools of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 14 districts. With an aim to introduce critical and logical thinking in school children through innovative computer programming platforms at an early age, the Early Age Programming initiative enables students to create Programs and Applications rather than being just users. This year, KPITB successfully trained 300 IT teachers from different government schools across 14 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the early age programming course curriculum and currently 16,000 government school students of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are benefiting from this Project. The project has produced remarkable results and the computer literacy and digital skill level of the marginalized students of government schools have improved significantly. The curriculum developed for the Early Age Programming initiative is by far the most advanced in the country, leaving behind the curriculum offered by most of the renowned private schools. It is pertinent to mention that the Early Age Programming initiative falls under the Digital Skills pillar of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Digital Strategy. The initiative is well in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and promises to contribute towards the economic uplifting of the country as well as reducing inequalities and improving the quality of education.