Even if Japan is a veritable mecca for all things technological and cutting edge, companies still agree that there is a severe lack of competent programmers in the country. That is why Japan’s “Bit Valley” – an area in Tokyo’s Shibuya district where a large number of IT companies have set up shop – is taking it upon itself to remedy the situation. They are doing this now by teaching computer programming to young Japanese children who show an aptitude for computers.
On weekends, Japanese IT outfits like CA Tech Kids focus on teaching the younger generation how to program. The company’s president Susumu Fujita, came up with the idea at one of their executive’s training camp, as there was a growing concern that the increasing amount of mobile gadget usage by children was detrimental to their education. “I want to contribute something to society,” Fujita said, coming up with an initial three-day run last summer, with parents having to pay for their children to join the computer classes. Not surprisingly, the company was almost overrun with the huge number of applications it received. CA Tech Kids immediately increased capacity. Currently, parents – even those who have to spend hours in commute just to get their children there – have been asking for the company to continue the classes.
Parents of the children seem tired of Japan’s school-centric education, and with their children showing aptitude for computers, they dream of them having a good career in the IT industry. “They make something themselves and present it. The creativity, making presentations in front of other people and all that are fun in ways that learning by just sitting at school isn’t,” says Kazuhiko Chuman, a father of a child who enjoys the program, who himself works at an IT company. “I love computers,” says his fourth-grade son Shinnosuke, who dreams to become an astronaut one day.
The CA Tech Kids school opened in Shibuya last October and now has a new branch in Osaka. They are now looking to open their third session in April – with each session having six lessons, one for each Saturday in the time frame – with the second session beginning last January. The introductory course of six lessons costs 36,000 yen (around US$350).