CSpathshala: Bringing Computational thinking to schools in India: The Why, How, What

Speaker: Mr Vipul Shah

Date, Date, Timeslot: 5:30-6:30pm (BST) Th June 30

Location: The talk was a teleconference held over Zoom. Its video recording can be accessed here.

  • 3-minute prelude describing INK can be accessed here.
  • 00:00-03:50 … Welcome
  • 03:50-07:20 … Current state of computer education in Indian schools
  • 07:20-09:20 … Need to bring science and computing together
  • 09:20-17:50 … Challenges, scalability problems
  • 17:50-22:00 … CSPathshala’s journey and impact starting 2016, curricula developed
  • 22:00-40:50 … Case studies of CSPathshala’s activities, participants’ feedback
  • 40:50-57:50 … Q&A: CSPathshala’s plans, funding support, Govt of India support, help needed from academics, complementary community programmes
  • 57:50-58:20 … Concluding remarks and thanks

Abstract: Computing plays a bigger role in the lives of young people today than ever before. Yet, there is a widespread lack of knowledge of what constitutes the core of computing: is it just the use of word processors and spreadsheets or are there more fundamental principles that underlie this science. CSpathshala is an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM India) initiative, launched in 2016, to bring a modern computing curriculum, emphasising on problem solving and computational thinking, to Indian schools. To ensure ease of deployment of the curriculum, CSpathshala has created detailed teaching aids. The program has reached 15,000 teachers and over 400,000 students are learning computing using the CSpathshala curriculum. Additionally, 30,000 government schools in Tamil Nadu are implementing CT as part of mathematics curriculum. CSpathshala has diverged from the traditional approaches of teaching computational thinking and uses a problem solving approach based on discrete mathematics. The talk will present our journey along with a glimpse of the CSpathshala curriculum, activities carried out by students, learning as well as challenges including those faced during the pandemic.

Speaker’s Biosketch: Mr Vipul Shah presently heads Education and Skilling of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as a part of its Global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. As part of this role, he is focusing on imparting 21st century skills to students, especially from rural and underrepresented communities. Prior to joining CSR, he was a Principal Scientist at the Software Engineering Research Lab at Tata Research Development and Design Centre (TRDDC) for 30 years. Mr Shah’s areas of interest have been language processing, modeling & model driven development, enterprise software testing and process modeling. Mr Shah has initiated and heads the ACM India Council Education initiative “CSPathshala” that has been set up to devise and sustain initiatives to promote improve access and quality of K-12 computing education in India. He serves on the board of Bebras International Computing Challenge community and is also the national coordinator for Bebras Computational Thinking challenge that sees participation upwards of 100,000 in the age groups 8-18. Mr Shah has conducted more than 75 awareness workshops and teacher training programs on Computational Thinking.