Empowering Tribal Education: Amazon Future Engineer Programme Phase II Launch

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NESTS (Ministry of Tribal Affairs), Launches Phase II of ‘Amazon Future Engineer Programme’ for EMRSs

The National Education Society for Tribal Students (NESTS), a division of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, has inaugurated Phase II of the ‘Amazon Future Engineer Programme’ in 54 Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS). This initiative, developed in collaboration with Amazon India and Learning Links Foundation, aims to empower tribal students with digital skills, bridging the academic gap, and ensuring their success in emerging technologies.

Expansion and Advanced Curriculum

In this second phase, an Advanced Block Programming and Artificial Intelligence (AI) curriculum will be introduced to enhance the students’ skillset. The launch event took place in New Delhi and featured the inauguration of a three-day, in-person teachers’ training workshop and the EMRS Coders Expo, exhibiting the top 20 Coding Projects from the previous academic year.

The newly revised module introduces a customized coding and AI curriculum aligned with the CBSE skill education framework. This curriculum complements existing courses in coding, logical sequencing, learning loops, and block programming. The 20-hour module has been designed with consideration for the current exposure of tribal students to computer science and coding.

Progressive Learning Stages

Starting from grade six, students will receive fundamental computer science training. In the seventh grade, they will be introduced to advanced concepts of visual programming. Grade eight students will have introductory sessions on AI, and grade nine will delve into the fundamentals of AI. Finally, grade ten students will encounter an AI module aligned with the CBSE skills curriculum, set to be introduced in the academic year 2024-25.

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Empowering Tribal Communities

Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda, lauded the initiative, stating that the collaboration between the Amazon Future Engineer Programme and NESTS holds the potential to bridge the academic gap among tribal communities. He emphasized that this initiative will equip future tribal generations with the digital skills needed to seize opportunities in the modern world.

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Overcoming Barriers

Addressing the event, Tribal Affairs Secretary, Shri Anil Kumar Jha, highlighted the significant challenges faced by India’s tribal population, including language and cultural barriers to accessing modern education. He stressed that addressing these barriers is crucial for improving learning outcomes for tribal students. Shri Jha also emphasized the importance of capacity building for teachers in local languages, especially within tribal communities, as this will enable them to deliver curriculum effectively and prepare students to compete in the technologically advanced world.

During the event, Shri Jha encouraged EMRS teachers to motivate and inspire their students to actively participate in the programme and gain essential coding and AI skills.

Phase I Success

The pilot phase of the Amazon Future Engineer Programme, launched in collaboration with Amazon India and Learning Links Foundation in the previous academic year, achieved significant success. It trained over 7,000 students from grades six to eight in the fundamentals of computer science and block programming modules. Recognizing the importance of educators in preparing tribal students for the rapidly evolving technological landscape, more than 50 teachers underwent a two-day capacity-building workshop, followed by periodic virtual sessions during Phase I.

The launch of Phase II represents a continued commitment to empowering tribal students and ensuring their readiness for the digital age. The initiative holds the promise of fostering a brighter future for tribal communities by providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in emerging technologies.

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