Amazon is extending its computer science program, Future Engineer, to India, making the world’s second-largest internet market the fifth market where the firm offers the childhood-to-career community program.
The company said at a virtual conference on Tuesday that it will offer several educational materials, scholarships, internships and mentors to teach computer science courses — and the areas it encompasses such as robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning — to students in India and also provide resources for teachers.
Through Future Engineer, the company partners with players such as Code.org to bring CS education opportunities to underserved and underrepresented children and young adults. Amazon said the program is primarily focused on students in grades six to 12.
“While a million students enroll in CS engineering courses annually in India, students from underserved and underrepresented communities contribute relatively small numbers. There are several reasons — low exposure to CS-related career opportunities, lack of inspirational role models in their community, and language barriers to access interesting curriculum formats. Also, government schools have limited resources to impart CS education,” the company said.
Amazon expects Future Engineer — which in India it said has been contextualized for the Indian teacher and student community and is being made available in several regional languages — to over 100,000 students in the country in more than 900 government schools across seven states within a year.
TechCrunch reported in December that the company was planning to launch the program in the world’s second-largest internet market.
“Students from underserved communities in India face disproportionate barriers to education, especially in the field of computer science. We are thrilled to bring the Amazon Future Engineer initiative to India, as we believe that all young people, irrespective of their backgrounds, should have the right exposure and accessibility to quality computer science education,” said Amit Agarwal, Global Senior VP and Country Head at Amazon India, in a statement.
“We aim to bring the CS curriculum closer to these students in the languages of their comfort and choice, empower them with right skills and tools to be able to expand their career outlook. We hope students emerge more confident and skilled to be responsible creators of technology solutions and build a better future for themselves, and communities around them.”
The American e-commerce giant, which has invested more than $6.5 billion in India so far, has been exploring the education space in the country for a few years. Two years ago, it launched JEE Ready, an app aimed at helping students who are preparing for entry into India’s prestigious technology institutes. JEE Ready, which has since been rebranded as Amazon Academy, offers free online classes and analyzes students’ performance in mock tests.