[Startup Bharat] Jaipur-based Codevidhya is decoding a future where kids learn coding in schools
In the digital world, the future lies in coding. The Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum has predicted that 65 percent of children entering primary school today will “ultimately end up working in completely new job types that do not even exist yet”.
Coding, which involves logical thinking and problem solving, could be the solution to prepare students for a job market dominated by data and computer science.
This was why Shivram Choudhary in 2016 started Jaipur-based Codevidhya, a bootstrapped edtech company that is converting classrooms in Indian schools into programming powerhouses.
An MIT graduate and Founder of educational institutes like Euro International School and Fanusta Global, Shivram says: “Codevidhya is an edtech startup focusing on teaching kids to code. We are teaching coding to students as young as five years old.”
The initial idea
In 2017, when Shivram visited Canada to attend a seminar conducted by celebrity self-help author Robin Sharma, he also met young coding genius Tanmay Bakshi.
Shivram had a discussion with him for more than an hour. And it led to the birth of Codevidhya.
Shivram says, “If we shape our children from the grassroots level, they will be skilled in the future. Everyone was thinking in a reactive way. I thought why be reactive; let's be proactive, catch them young, and shape their future,” says Shivram.
The need to catch children young is vital. Every other Indian parent wants his or her child to be an engineer. However, the fact remains that many students who pass out today lack “employable” skills.
A 2018 report by India Skills says around 48 percent of engineers in the country are unemployed while Pearson Research reveals that 95 percent of Indian engineers are not equipped for development and coding jobs.
Shivram held discussions with several experts, and each one of them had his or her own views. He collated the thoughts and came to a conclusion: schools were not doing enough.
“I came back to India and discussed the matter with my in-house tech people. I met Rajesh Choudhary, an IT professional, who along with a team of four developers, gave basic shape to the idea,” Shivram says.
Today, the Codevidhya team comprises 15 people.
The working model
Codevidhya works with schools in a B2B model. A school introduces the Codevidhya curriculum as their computer syllabus, and it is implemented as a main subject like science and mathematics.
The team sets up the curriculum basis guidelines shared by CBSE boards and other educational boards. Teachers are also trained in the coding curriculum.
The annual curriculum is offered as a complete programme, and is a combination of text book and online learning and teaching. The online platform is supported by teachers’ trainings, students’ workshops, code challenges, project mentorship, quarterly product implementation effectiveness assessment, annual hackathon, hour of code, and support for participation in various competitions and challenges.
Students also get access to the Codevidhya online platform where they can do hands-on coding projects, classwork, and homework. The online platform also lets them share their projects with friends and families.
Challenges and growth
Initially the team faced the all-important challenge of convincing schools and parents; most were reluctant to accept the idea that teaching coding would help at such a young age.
“We implemented a pilot programme in one school to overcome that. We trained teachers, conducted several seminars at parent-teacher meetings, and explained the importance of computer science and coding,” Shivram says.
Since inception in 2017, the team claims revenue growth has been steady. After the first year of a successful pilot run, the team claims to have on-boarded eight schools and seen year-on-year growth of 100 percent.
Two years down the line, Codevidhya claims to have on-boarded over 25 schools, leading to a growth in revenue from Rs 36 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
Market and the future
Startups like Pesto, Masai School, Authblue, and several others are focused on skilling adults. San Francisco-based Lambda School is also looking at India as a market.
However, Codevidhya stands apart by focusing on school-going children. The edtech startup equips students aged five to 16 years with programming skills to hone their computational thinking and problem-solving skills to find success in the algorithms economy.
The team is now working on providing the online course offering in the B2C segment.
“We have a team of expert developers and scientists working on a curriculum along with a program to check a student’s coding quotient and on how to enhance that. CQ is, and will be, a major measure of your skill when it comes to computer science and coding,” Shivram says.
In the future, Codevidhya wants to build an innovation lab.
“It will provide schools with the benefits of expansive, hand-on experience. Students will also benefit from a curriculum that has been specifically developed for the lab unlike other lab providers who provide user manuals or experiment sheets,” Shivram says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)