NEW DELHI: Gone are the days when students in small towns planned to pursue traditional courses like calligraphy art or swimming during their annual summer breaks. These course are now increasingly being replaced by the likes of cybersecurity, professional gaming and different computer languages.
While some of them are learning these courses to quench curiosity, others have high ambitions and often look up to India-born CEOs of top companies like Google's Sundar Pichai, Microsoft's Satya Nadella and Adobe's Shantanu Narayen as their role models.
"Why do I need to learn how to write calligraphy? Would I ever even use it? I am opting in for computer language courses that I could actually put to use if in case, I plan to develop the best game in the world tomorrow," said Nityam Jain, a class 12th student from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh as he filled out a summer-course form to learn the basics of computer coding during his vacations.
According to Rajneet Jain, Director, Gyan Ganga Group of Institutions in Jabalpur, children these days are opting to spend more "productive" time in front of screens rather than out in the sun.
"Apart from our engineering students, high-school kids as well as MBA and pharmacy aspirants often choose to attend professional tech-oriented workshops that would teach them something new about computers, smartphones, apps or the Internet," Jain said.
"In an era where global economies are being driven by technology, India is no different. Due to rapid proliferation of the Internet, young Indians, especially from smaller cities, are relying heavily on digital technologies to help them put their best foot forward," Nikhil Arora, Vice President and Managing Director, GoDaddy India told IANS.
In May, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said that a four-year degree is not necessary to excel at coding. Cook believes that, "if we can get coding in the early grades and have a progression of difficulty over the tenure of somebody's high school years, by the time kids graduate they are already writing apps that could be put on the App Store".
Every year, during its World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC) event, tech-giant Apple hosts students from around the world to encourage the next generation of developers.
This year, 14 Indian students made it to the event to showcase their advanced-tech marvels as apps, games and more. All of these young achievers started their tech-journeys at very early ages.
WWDC attendee Swapnanil Dhole -- a college student from Ahmedabad, Gujarat -- said he had begun coding from age 8 and today, he already has two apps on App Store called AeroNautical and Tap2WiFi.
Recognising the potential, several tech giants including Facebook and Microsoft are focusing on designing India-specific programmes across fields like agritech, edutech, gaming and software development verticals to help kids in small cities get access to metro-level infrastructure and learnings from experts who are willing to mentor and give back to the community.
"Learning no longer depends on the place you belong to. Find good mentors who can teach you on how to walk on ethical path to fulfil your goal. I was lucky to find many good mentors in Jabalpur who helped to realise what I really want to do and what I'm really capable of," said Nitesh Kumar Jangir who won the "2019 Commonwealth Secretary-General's Innovation for Sustainable Development Award" in London this month.
"If kids get interested in technologies like computer coding and cybersecurity at early ages, by the time they reach their late teens or early twenties, they would already have an understanding of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain and Internet of Things," IT professional Tirupati Bonangi told IANS.