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OUT OF SYLLABUS

Coding is no rocket science and it can be even taught at the school level. It was with that thought a bunch of people at TinkerHub launched KuttyCoders, a non-profit organisation which aims at teaching technology (coding, app development etc) for schoolchildren. The response has been huge and most children were more than eager to take up technological challenges. Vineeth Nair, a third-year ECE BTech student at Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam, is the Project Lead @ KuttyCoders. Interestingly, Vineeth Nair too had a slow start into the world of technology, but once he gained a foothold, there has been no looking back. Here Vineeth Nair talks about the roller-coaster journey.

When I was in the second year, I had this guilt for some reason. It took me some time to figure it out that I’ve been wasting a year of my life doing nothing. I was not that focused on my studies and what struck me hard was the realization that I was just an average student. I knew I was capable of doing more, but I felt a rock attached to the feet which kept pulling me down. I had some of my friends in college who were fully involved in tech-related programmes or events and I wanted to experience that as well.

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I remember skipping a day of my college tech fest and going to Model Engineering College, Thrikkakara with my school friend Raghesh Kumar to participate in a competition. We failed miserably. Now we wanted to have some certificate to show in college so that we get duty leaves. We desperately wanted one certificate and we heard of an event, which gives away free certificates, An inspiring tech talk. So we entered the hall and the session was taken by Mr. Mehar MP, Co-Founder & CEO of TinkerHub. I remember getting influenced by his words and later that night I texted him, about my interest in tech.

I started registering for every free event that comes my way. My first Hackathon was Health Hackathon by Grapes, where Raghesh and I teamed up with Thomas, the CEO of EventoZ, a friend from ICW. We presented an idea called Pediatric assistant toy in short PAT, a voice assistant tool for hospitalized kids. We got recognized in the next day's newspaper.
In the event, we observed that kids interact with each other faster than we thought. They are brilliant than we think and sometimes come up with innovative ideas and solutions beyond what we plan. Besides, they are concerned about solving real-life problems and want to build real products at this young age. Instead of teaching technology every day, we have included other knowledge domains such as arts and design in the curriculum.

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How have you developed KuttyCoders?

KuttyCoders is a non-profit organisation which aims at teaching technology for school students. Schoolchildren are taught to code, create, and communicate. KuttyCoders is a result of a TinkerHub’ WhatsApp group discussion between Shahin, Gopikrishnan, Avinash, Samir and many more. We created a WhatsApp group named KuttyCoders and now KuttyCoders is a big community. The idea behind Kuttycoders is simple: Tech doesn't have any age, Yan, Jaiden, Sarang are living examples to the statement. (Saarang Sumesh is the youngest MIT Fab Academy Graduate in the world. Yan Chummar made Deep Learning as a service at the age of 15.) From Kochi to Kottayam & Wayanad, many have started learning and exploring tech a bit early in their lives. It's not that they have the highest IQ in the state and I don't think they are born extraordinary talents, but they have worked hard, did an extra step to explore what made them curious.

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Why did you launch KuttyCoders?

It’s an initiative to promote coding literacy among school students and help them understand about the technology apart from what the current school syllabus provides, thereby equipping them to be technically bright citizens of tomorrow.

What do you think is the biggest issue?

Most schoolchildren are taught only what’s in syllabus and usually they have no guidance and exposure. As a result of which a great amount of talent is lost. These students then find it difficult when they opt for higher studies and find themselves in jobs which are not suited for them. School syllabus needs to be updated in sync with the fast-changing world.

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