Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), along with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), co-hosted its 'goIT' student competition finale as a culmination of its partnership during the 2016-17 school year that engaged nearly 2,000 students across 18 schools.
Opening the day's proceedings in front of nine teams each from grade eight and grade nine, Mitzie Hunter, Ontario education minister, stressed on the need for more public-private partnerships to prepare Canadian youth with latest technology skills.
goIT is TCS's signature community engagement programme in North America that increases interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through app development, design thinking and robotics.
TCS launched goIT in Canada with 10 schools in 2014-15, as a public-private partnership with TDSB and the Information & Communications Technology Council (ICTC), to inspire and prepare more students for 21st-century careers.
During the 2015-16 school year, 394 TCS volunteers worked with students in 18 TDSB schools, resulting in more than 23,000 STEM skill-building hours.
TCS's partnership with TDSB builds upon its robust global community initiatives that have inspired more than two million young people in STEM education and careers.
In Canada, TCS goIT has served more than 5,000 students through partnerships with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Skills Ontario, Boys and Girls Club, Canadian Association for Girls in Science, Kidnetix Kidz Association and Toronto Community Housing.
TCS is also a founding partner of NPower Canada, focused on closing the diversity gap and providing young adults with opportunities and tech skills to help them achieve their potential. Moreover, more than 5,300 TCS Canada employees have volunteered across 25 cities to support causes of health, education and environment since 2010, working with organisations such as Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society, United Way Canada and Canadian Red Cross.
"Our unique partnership with Canada's largest school board and the contributions of our world-class professionals have helped to engage thousands of Toronto students via in-school curriculum, inspiring them to confidently explore new future career possibilities," said Soumen Roy, head, TCS Canada. "This exciting journey with TDSB has set an exemplary benchmark on how the public and private sector can come together to improve and empower our next generation for future readiness," he added.
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Since its launch in 2009 to address the growing tech skills gap, goIT has engaged more than 13,000 students in 50 cities across the US and Canada, especially those students from underrepresented groups, minorities and girls. goIT inspires youth to use technology to solve real-world problems through design thinking, mobile app development, robotics and mentorship from TCS employee volunteers.
Students work in teams to identify a problem, generate possible solutions, wireframe their prototypes, develop and test their mobile apps, and present their work to peers and judges. In turn, goIT participants are introduced to design thinking as a problem-solving framework, acquire critical thinking experience while troubleshooting designs, improve their ability to work in teams, and refine their communication skills through public presentations.