• Amitesh Anand Pandey

Tech Illiteracy in these pandemic times

It is no surprise that COVID-19 is the first major pandemic since the technological revolution. Thankfully so, the damage to normalcy has been greatly reduced, now that Schooling, Legislation, and Official works have been shifted online. This though has not been helpful to all equally. The majority of people in countries like India are severely uneducated when it comes to properly operating machines. This is primarily because of the economic gap between the people in 3rd world countries. In other countries like the US, the older populations remain to be unaware of the operations of technology. This has become clear from the videos that emerged a few years back of the American prosecutors asking Google's CEO Sunder Pichai vile questions.

It is worth to be noted that, tech illiteracy has always been a concerning phenomenon, but now that the pandemic has left all of us heavily reliant on technology, it is even clearer as to why it should be actively tackled. It might as well be the single largest concern for governments because in a few years from now when the presence and interaction of machines will be unimaginably high, this illiteracy can act as a new divide between the privileged and the poor. If we can manage to educate the majority of the population about basic tech affairs and tasks, it can actively not only help as a safeguard against their exploitation in the coming years but also provide to them a medium through which they can build upon market-desired skills. It can be said that for sections of society that have been marginalized for so long, lack of access to technology and its basic principles can be the single-most deleterious factor in deciding their future. It is commonly said that,

Picking up a phone and learning how to operate Youtube is often times more difficult than learning how to code by watching videos on Youtube.

In these times, when governments have greatly failed the poor, it is vile to expect them to even remotely consider tech-education an important agenda. It isn't that time we lose all hope and accept the tech divide that may conquer our world in a few decades yet though, because as a glimmer of light in dark tunnels, there are organizations working very hard to take control of this situation.

Coding tomorrow is one such organization, a non-profit based in the bay area of California, USA. The non-profit emphasizes on teaching lower-income families and kids programming lessons. It is expanding in terms of the curriculum to work with cities to teach blue-collar workers marketable tech skills as well. Their goal is to enable technological education so that no one in the community is left “tech illiterate”.

Frederic Xiong, The Executive Director of Coding Tomorrow says that,

Much like electricity revolutionized the 19th century, and plastic the 20th, digital technology will tectonically move the 21st century forward. Unlike the previous two centuries, however, it wouldn’t be the tragic Serbian inventor or the British metallurgist who would be the epoch of change. Rather, the accessibility of the global web has, in a form, provided a den of innovation for every youth on this planet. But a manual with no instructions is just a piece of paper.

That gap between information and instruction is the niche the Coding Tomorrow Initiative aims to fill. Our mission is to democratize programming and digital skills and to use digital tools as an avenue to break the cycles of poverty around the globe. Our organization works with high-schoolers passionate in offering value back to their communities. In organizing local chapters, these compassionate, motivated individuals recruit volunteers in creating curriculums and classes. Through our organization’s main intent is to primarily assist financially disadvantaged youths in accessing programming and digital skills instructions, our goals extend to assisting any interested or underprivileged families as well.

As of right now, we're initiating various projects. Through our chapters—local branches of our organization—are still focusing on educating youths, our organization has shifted towards a new dire direction. With a skyrocketing unemployment rate, and the majority of those furloughed being blue-collars, Coding Tomorrow is in the process of launching our working-class initiative. With a new aim of teaching furloughed workers digital skills, such as using Microsoft Excel, Adobe Cloud, System Administration etc., Coding Tomorrow hopes to work with local city and school district councils in the promotion of job growth for these demographics of individual. ❞



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© 2020 by Amitesh Pandey.