Coding Education Makes Waves: Chinese parents get their kids on board with AI revolution
Updated 21:50, 02-Apr-2019
Earlier this month, China's Ministry of Education endorsed curriculum for artifical intelligence and computer coding in primary and secondary schools. Many parents are already pushing their kids to this tech revolution. CGTN's Zheng Chunying reports.
Spinning slowly to capture and create a 3D selfie.
Learning to build a robot that could complete complex tasks.
Tongcheng & Tongmei, a private learning center in Beijing, offers coding classes for children aged 6 to 18.
The digital generations are learning the language of the future, a whole new set of ABCs, where the C stands for coding.
SONG PEIHONG 4TH GRADER "I think coding classes will help me get to my dream school, like Harvard."
And from the teachers' point of view, there are other, more important benefits.
YANG JIANWEN, TEACHING DIRECTOR TEDU-TONGCHENG & TONGMEI "Coding training is helpful for them to develop logical minds, critical thinking, and a habit of being meticulous and also enables them to gain a better understanding of technology and how it's shaping the world."
Aware of the significance of learning to code, in July 2017, China's State Council gave coding education a big boost when it issued a statement endorsing AI curriculum development in primary and secondary schools.
Last year, a pilot project in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang included coding as part of the college entrance exam.
But as more and more kids in China get the chance to acquire the skills, there's also a concern that the wave could widen the educational divide.
For children in low-income households or less developed cities with limited access to computers, any such innovative class is a luxury.
So many companies are looking for alternatives.
Like Hetao coding.
Launched in 2017, the startup provides online computer programming courses for children.
To date, the platform has enrolled hundreds of thousands of paid users all across China generating a monthly revenue of over 15 million yuan or some 2.2 million US dollars.
ZENG PENGXUAN, CEO HETAO CODING "Online coding lessons could reach a much wider demographic of students, due to its flexibility in schedule and location, and its lower price as well. I still remember that one of our members is from an underdeveloped county in southeast China. He kept taking hours of our online courses, and the notes he took during the courses have also become a model that inspire many of our other members. That was really impressive to me."
ZHENG CHUNYING BEIJING "The current wave of enthusiasm in China to learn coding comes as the country strives to become an AI powerhouse. Statistics show that over 80 registered companies currently offer computer programming lessons for children and most of these were founded in or after 2014. The rapid development of the coding education industry means these companies are attracting huge amounts of capital."
GAO HANG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TIANHONG INNOVATION ASSET MANAGEMENT "Family spending on education will see a tremendous rise when a country's average GDP reaches 9000 US dollars. More and more families will very likely invest more on their kids' education, the tech sector in particular. The current market share of the entire coding education industry in China is about 10 percent which is still much lower than that of developed countries. So I think there's a huge potential in this particular education market in China."
Perhaps the future is already here, and chances are these kids will be the ones shaping it.