States and Cities Present Effective Strategies for U.S. Computer Science Education at Tata Consultancy Services and STEMconnector® Roundtable Discussions focus on local, scalable, replicable models at a State and City Level; with collaboration among government, education agencies, NPOs and Industry leaders
MUMBAI, India and NEW YORK, May 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Tata Consultancy Services (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS), a leading IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, today announced potential solutions and scalable models for the U.S. Computer Science (CS) education ecosystem, following the "Computer Science Education: Progress, State-by-State, City-by-City" roundtable event, which it facilitated in partnership with STEMconnector®. On May 16, this event, held at the New York Academy of Sciences, brought together business executives, government officials, educators, national agencies, non-profits and thought leaders to examine how states and cities are advancing CS education by providing new ways to create a digitally fluent workforce.
"Across industries, businesses are expecting the next generation of employees to have a mastery of digital technologies with an innovative mindset, adaptable to the rapidly evolving digital landscape and collaborate in real and virtual teams. Digital fluency helps students know 'how' and 'which' technologies to use to solve real world problems," said Surya Kant, President, North America, UK and Europe, TCS.
"We must prepare all of our students for the jobs of the future. That starts with getting more talented young people into the STEM pipeline and finding ways to encourage girls, minorities and students in underserved communities to consider careers in STEM fields," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. "I applaud STEMconnector® and Tata Consultancy Services' efforts to shine the light on successful computer science programs in New York State and across the country. I encourage them to continue their efforts and expand access to effective programs for coding and computer science education."
"STEM is one of the most important conversations for Americans today. In Iowa, we understand its impact on economic development, job creation and educational transformation," said Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa. "Technology, in particular, offers an incredible opportunity for our young people. That's why, the Computer Science roundtable provided such a great forum to engage in relevant dialogue."
The event was designed to address the national need for technology talent by identifying state, city and local programs that are scalable, replicable and have great impact. Representatives from across the country shared the progress on their efforts to improve K-12 CS education in their own sectors. Notable participants hailed from the National Science Foundation, MIT Center for Mobile Learning, Teach For America, Project Lead the Way, National 4-H Council, Digital Harbor Foundation, Academy for Computer Science Education NPower; state and city governments and Departments of Education from New York, Iowa, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland and Utah; and representatives from top companies with a need for technology talent, including Cisco, Google, Verizon and Adobe, among others.
Participants at the day-long roundtable hit upon a variety of challenges, including the following prevalent issues:
- Defining CS: There is a need for a strong, universal definition of CS to effectively design curricula that addresses the skills required at the university level and in the workforce.
- Supplying trained CS teachers: There are not enough CS teachers in the U.S. and in many schools teachers are alone in their departments, isolated from the broader CS space. With the field rapidly evolving, teachers need training to not only initially enter the CS field and meet the demand for CS educators, but to constantly adapt to new developments in the industry.
- Prioritizing CS and addressing inequity: While some states and cities are facing budget constraints limiting their access to resources like laptops and lesson plans, other states feel that education is not under-funded, but under-prioritized. Participants called for policies that enable schools and districts to prioritize CS coursework so that all students have access to quality CS education.
Key scalable resolutions from the day's dialogue included the following:
- Industry and CS educators to work hand-in-hand: Skilled computer professionals must collaborate with CS educators to train teachers and empower them with the resources they need, thus ensuring that the students are adequately prepared to succeed in CS jobs. Melissa Moritz, Vice President, Education Initiatives at Teach For America, spoke about the collaboration with TCS on a pilot program where TCS employees worked side-by-side with their faculty to co-teach 'Scratch' (programming language) to local NYC public school students.
- Students deserve clear communication about the value of a CS degree: Teachers, non-profits and industry need to showcase to students the tremendous career opportunities and earning potential.
- CS education needs to start earlier: Utah students are learning math skills through virtual tutors, which provide immediate feedback and solidify students' math skills. Programs like this improve math proficiency and expose students to computer skills at a younger age, so that coursework can shift from digital literacy to digital fluency.
- Connect CS teachers to each other: Move from a culture of isolation to one of inclusion. For example, NYU CS professor and NYC Foundation for CS Education executive director, Evan Korth, spoke to how his non-profit organizes teacher meet-ups to foster a community to facilitate knowledge sharing for CS teachers.
- Match CS supply with demand to address equity issue: Edie Fraser, STEMconnector® CEO, and Nate Madsen, US2020 Chief of Staff, brought to life how programs like Million Women Mentors and US2020, which focus on serving girls, low-income and underrepresented minority populations, directly connect young people with industry mentors to help them overcome obstacles and pursue STEM education and careers.
"Today more than ever, we see an ever-increasing need for technology skills in all jobs. It is critical to find ways to expose students to these skills early on and to do that, we need everyone at the table," said Edie Fraser, STEMconnector® CEO. "We are so proud of the work that we have done in partnership with TCS to bring together representatives from government, industry and education to get more students engaged in computer science education. We must aim for action and start with collaboration."
"In the past six months, six states have moved to recognize computer science as a math or science credit. The winds of change are blowing and now is the moment for policy makers, educators and businesses to collaborate in order to prepare and nurture the next generation for the incredible career opportunities that await them," said Balaji Ganapathy, Head of Workforce Effectiveness, TCS.
This roundtable was the second of two events developed to address the dearth of skilled technology professionals coming out of the U.S. education system. The first event, which took place in Washington, D.C. in September 2013, assessed the current status of computer science education and careers nationally. Following the event, TCS and STEMconnector issued a whitepaper, "Education & Careers in the U.S.: The Future of Computer Science," which created a blueprint for addressing the key issues through cross-sector collaboration. Likewise, TCS and STEMconnector are partnering to produce a subsequent whitepaper to capture the key learnings from this year's roundtable.
About Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS)
Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT, BPS, infrastructure, engineering and assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model™, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata group, India's largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has more than 300,000 of the world's best-trained consultants in 46 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $13.4 billion for year ended March 31, 2014 and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more information, visit us at www.tcs.com.
Information about TCS' STEM initiatives and need for strong CS education can be found here.
STEMconnector® is "the one-stop-shop" for STEM information. With several products and services, STEMconnector® supports its members to design, implement and measure their STEM strategies. Since its launch in 2011, STEMconnector® has been the leader in leveraging a network of STEM stakeholders and "making things happen." STEMconnector®'s charge is to identify, inform and connect entities working in STEM Education/Careers to assess smart STEM investments and results.
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SOURCE Tata Consultancy Services