Directi has launched an online programming platform, CodeChef for Schools, which is aimed at fostering developers at grass root level to create a self-sustaining community of technology developers.
The initiative hopes to enable Indian students to excel at the International Olympiad of Informatics (IOI), one of the five academic Olympiads for high-school students worldwide. The competition requires contestants to show basic IT skills such as as problem analysis, design of algorithms and data structures, programming, and testing.
The non-commercial educational initiative will kickstart by tapping school children from Class 8 onward. CodeChef for Schools has pledged a yearly support of US$20,000 to etch India's programming prowess on the global map. These funds would be utilized for various purposes including sponsorship for students to help them participate in coding competitions, spends for enhancing their school's IT infrastructure, and a cash prize of 500,000 rupees (US$8,000) for the gold medal winner at the IOI.
Elaborating on the development, Bhavin Turakhia, founder and CEO, Directi said: "In India, there is a clear dearth of platforms that encourage school students to take computer programming seriously. Combine this with the lack of awareness among Indian students, and the existing curriculum in most schools and colleges, it does not truly recreate real-world scenarios that allow budding software developers to collaborate with professionals.
"The CodeChef platform aims to reach out to school students while young, and create a culture of programming in the country," said Turakhia. Directi is an Indian company offering various Internet services including Web hosting, domain registration, and online collaboration tools.
While the nation has been making rapid strides with the US$10 billion IT services industry, it has yet to leave its mark on the global programming industry. Countries like China, Germany, and Russia still hold down the fort by churning out winners year after year at global events. Also, factors such as low awareness about the value of programming, lack of infrastructure, as well as lack of qualified teachers further act as an impediment.
As a part of the program, Directi will host monthly online coding contests, have online programming tutorials, build Campus Chapters in various schools to help students learn programming from scratch, and assist schools to organize meet-ups where students will be encouraged to learn coding concepts, share experiences, and be mentored to drive India to become one of the programming hotspots of the world.