Google has committed $20 million in new pledges to increase access to computer science education for underrepresented groups. More than 11 million American kids will have better access to education, according to the company’s expectations.
The inequalities that now exist will widen if we don’t get this right, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Wednesday. “In the future, technology will undoubtedly play a significant role. The main reason we do it is for that.
According to Pichai, Google wanted to help organizations that have “strong experience in education” and work with underrepresented populations, such as kids in rural regions and ethnic and gender minorities.
The list is made up of both established Google partners and more recent entities. Since 2017, 4-H has collaborated with the corporation and received $5 million. The Hidden Genius Project, situated in Oakland, won Google’s 2015 Impact Challenge and is also getting funding. Other recipients include the organization CodePath, the Expanding Computing Education Pathways (ECEP) Alliance at UT Austin, and the Computing Integrated Teacher Education initiative at CUNY. Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles will get the majority of the urban funds.
Living in the Bay Area, it is obvious to Pichai how many local schools have already made the change and included exposure to CS education as part of their curricula. It’s crucial that this occurs throughout the nation, in rural communities and other underserved areas.
Though Pichai emphasized that the approach would be collaborative, Google will continue to work with the groups receiving the funding and will have some say in how the money is spent. Pichai said, “We are eager to engage with and assist organizations of this magnitude — clearly having objectives and cooperating.” “I wouldn’t really call it supervision; more like a collaboration, and we’re here to support these groups’ success,” the speaker said.
Director of Google.org Americas Justin Steele said, “We’ll be there to support them every step of the way, but they’re in the driver’s seat.”
With the $5 million from Google, 4-H intends to develop and introduce fresh in-person programming in Virginia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Iowa, North Carolina, and Ohio. Additionally, it intends to support its online computer science teaching materials and increase professional development for its teachers.
By the year 2024, the organization hopes to “reach” 200,000 children, adults, volunteers, and educators via CS initiatives. It will keep Google informed of its success on a regular basis.
According to Jennifer Sirangelo, president and chief executive officer of the National 4-H Council, “This $5 million contribution from Google.org will have a huge effect on the 4-H youngsters we serve.” Six million 4-H members and more than 3,500 instructors from the 4-H system will have access to computer science instruction thanks to these tools.
Big IT corporations have recently been debating the importance of computer science education, with Google taking a special interest in the subject. Pichai joined hundreds of signatures on an open letter urging governments and educators to enable “every kid in every school to have the chance to study computer science” in July. Signatories included Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO Tim Cook. Additionally, Google and Figma collaborated earlier this summer with the express purpose of enabling students to experiment with software creation.
Students throughout the US would benefit from having more access to computer science education since studies have shown that it improves executive function, problem-solving skills, and college enrollment rates. Of course, having a bigger, more talented, and more diversified talent pool is advantageous for Google and its rivals as well.