With an aim to create a self-sustaining community of technology developers, The Directi Group, a leading Indian internet products company, has launched an online programming platform, titled- ‘CodeChef for Schools.’ The initiative is an ambitious effort aimed to enable Indian students to excel at the International Olympiad of Informatics (IOI) - one of the five academic Olympiads for high school students worldwide.
CodeChef for Schools, is a non-commercial educational initiative of Directi to create a global community that fosters learning and friendly competition.CodeChef aims to promote competitive programming and encourage self-learning; the program will kick start by tapping school children from class 8 onwards. CodeChef for Schools has pledged a yearly support of 20,000 USD 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 5 lakhs for the winner of the Gold Medal at the International Olympiads for Informatics. Most importantly, for every unclaimed prize, the sum will increase as per a formula devised by the CodeChef team, each year. The cash prize will hence, increase as per the following table for a period of 4 years,
Elaborating on the development, Mr. Bhavin Turakhia- Founder & CEO, Directi and the brainchild behind the initiative said, “CodeChef provides a platform for practice, competition and improvement for student and professional software developers across India. The CodeChef platform aims to reach out to school students, while young and create a culture of programming in the country.Since the time, we have started playing a part in spreading awareness about competitive programming; we have received tremendous response from Indian college students. Almost 1,20,000 students are registered on our CodeChef platform, since 2009, and have tried to better their performance through our mentoring, tech-talks, meet-ups, training workshops, encouragement to students to host their own competitions, etc.”
While India has been making rapid strides with the $ 10 billion IT services industry, it is 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 these global events. Also, factors like low awareness about value of programming, lack of infrastructure and qualified teachers further act as an impediment.
With ‘CodeChef for Schools’, Directi aims to bring school kids within its fold. As a part of this 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.
“We eventually also realized that students from other regions are exposed to a culture of studying algorithms from middle and high school and made to take part in the International Olympiad of Informatics, a pre-cursor to ACM ICPC. In this backdrop, we felt that the only way to ensure that the Indian programmers win is by catching them young, when they are still in schools and encourage them to make a career in the world of programming,” Mr.Turakhia averred.