Wearing a pair of black-rimmed glasses and a red T-shirt, an eight-year-old Chinese boy is logged in for an online coding lesson — as the teacher.
Vita has set up a coding tutorial channel on the Chinese video streaming site Bilibili since August and has so far garnered nearly 60,000 followers and over one million views.
He is among a growing number of children in China who are learning coding even before they enter primary school.
The trend has been fuelled by parents’ belief that coding skills will be essential for Chinese teenagers given the government’s technological drive.
“Coding’s not that easy but also not that difficult — at least not as difficult as you have imagined,” says Vita, who lives in Shanghai.
The little boy uses his channel to patiently take his students — who are mostly children older than him and young adults — step-by-step through an Apple-designed coding app called Swift Playgrounds
Explaining as he goes, he sometimes deliberately makes mistakes to help show common errors to avoid.
“When I am teaching, I am learning new things at the same time,” adds Vita.
China has been making huge investments in robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), with the government issuing in 2017 an AI development plan which suggested programming courses be taught in both primary and secondary schools.
China published its first AI textbook last year, while eastern Zhejiang province listed programming as one subject for its college entrance examination.
For Vita it was his father, Zhou Ziheng, who has been his main support, editing his videos and helping to run the channel.
Zhou, a freelance translator of scientific and technology books, started to teach his son how to write codes when he was five years old.
“I learnt coding when I was young, so I always believed that Vita learning coding at this age was something normal,” he said.
When Vita was four, they started off by playing some coding-related games together, which used icons to replace codes.
After seeing that Vita played these games very well, Zhou decided to help him work on some real codes.
This summer, Vita surprised his father by successfully rewriting the codes in an app which didn’t work in an updated system by himself.
“I suggested to him to record how he rewrote these codes,” said Zhou, and the idea for online classes was born.
Most comments on Vita’s online videos express amazement that he can write code and even teach others at such a young age.
“I just learnt how to use the computer when I was eight,” wrote one.
Parents who don’t have the skills to help can send their children to coding agencies, which are booming thanks to demand from China’s middle-class families looking for the best skills for their children.
The value of China’s programming education market for children was 7.5 billion yuan (over $1 billion) in 2017, but is set to exceed to 37.7 billion yuan by 2020, according to Analysys, a Chinese internet analysis firm.
“China’s programming education in public school starts very late (compared to developed countries), so our after-school tutorial agency makes up for this shortage,” said Pan Gongbo, general manager of Beijing-based Tongcheng Tongmei, a coding education centre.
The school’s youngest student is only three years old.
For children under six, the agency offers a special programme that includes activities like Lego building, which also uses coding knowledge and skills.
According to Pan, children at six or seven are fully capable of learning coding in cognitive development.
“Don’t underestimate the learning speed of children. In some of our courses, they learn even faster than our adults,” he said.
Ten-year-old Ji Yingzhe has been studying the coding language Python for half a year at the agency — before that, he took a semester-long course on fundamental robot building, which he felt was too simple.
“The codes have already been written for you, and all you have to do is to organise these (code blocks) in order,” he told AFP.
Ji’s father sent him to learn programming because he was spending a lot of time playing video games.
There was a new rule at home: Ji could only play the games that he created himself.
Ji has almost finished writing a simple version of the popular game “Plants vs Zombies”.
In November, Vita competed in a coding competition for primary students, held by the Shanghai Computer Industry Association.
He spent two months learning the coding language C++ for the competition, with the help of his father, going all the way to the final despite being among the youngest participants.
In terms of what the future holds, Zhou said it will depend on Vita’s interest and ability — but he wants to keep his son down-to-earth.
“I told him: ‘you haven’t done anything remarkable,'” said Zhou. “This is just one step of (his) coding learning.”
Vita says he is happy just to have fans and followers.
“Coding is a long-term challenge,” he said. “(But) download the app and you can start learning now.”
Singer speaks after attacking lover at WCB signee Zuchu’s star-studded concert
56 minutes ago
On 18 July, there was fanfare at the Mlimani City Hall in Dar es Salaam as WCB signee Zuchu held a thanksgiving concert months after her debut EP, I Am Zuchu. The event dubbed ‘Ahsante Nashukuru’ mainly featured performances by artistes from the WCB stable and attracted the whos-who in the Tanzanian entertainment and political scenes.
However, singer Gigy Money who also performed made the headlines for the wrong reasons after getting into a scuffle with her lover during the much-publicised concert.
READ ALSO: I was bewitched by a friend – Gigy Money
Peaceful arrival, later chaos
Moments earlier, Gigy and her Nigerian man were seen arriving arm in arm at the event whose highlight featured Zuchu receiving a brand new car from WCB head honcho Diamond Platnumz. Donning matching outfits, the couple was spotted on the red carpet as the paparazzi scrambled to capture the moment. However, all hell breaks loose later and viral videos depict the visibly angered Nigerian arguing with a bouncer at the entrance. After a tense confrontation, Gigy’s man is seen being led by the screaming bouncer towards the exit. Shortly after, a similarly irritated Gigy emerges and follows the pair.
“Gigy! Wewe Gigy wewe!” a woman in the background is heard dissuading the singer from pursuing them but the singer pays no heed and heads for the pair.
“You want to beat me?” the boyfriend is heard asking an approaching Gigy as the bouncer acts as a barrier between them. The bouncer manages to steer the incensed man towards the exit as Gigy follows behind, hurling obscenities.
At some point, a barefoot Gigy turns into a sprint before throwing one of her shoes which hits the man who then responds with an insult. Another bouncer finally intervenes and the two are separated. Gigy then asks for her vehicle so she can head home before warning the press against sharing videos of the incident.
Though the cause of their tiff is still unknown Gigy later made reference to the shocking incident in a social media post, hinting that alcohol had a part to play in the fracas. In another post, Gigy shared a photo alongside her estranged lover writing: “My mad man looked handsome before his demons arose and mine arose too.”
‘Running over Ali Kiba’
Gigy is not new controversy and recently said she’d run over her ex, singer Ali Kiba for breaking her heart.
“I will knock all of them down, I mean I will kill them. In fact, I will flatten them like chapatis. The first person I will knock down and kill is Ali Kiba. Actually, I don’t need a weak car, I need a Fuso so that when I knock him down I will be sure he doesn’t survive,” Gigy told Ayo TV.
Dating Kiba brothers
Gigy had in the past admitted to dating both Ali Kiba and his younger brother, Abdu Kiba. She solely laid the blame on Chekecha singer for pursuing her despite knowing that she’d been with his younger brother. Abdu expressed being heartbroken after learning the two had a fling, prompting him to marry.
“I was very hurt on hearing that Ali was dating Gigy Money because I dated her first before she became famous. But it’s alleged that Ali didn’t know. It hurt me for a while till when I married,” said Abdu.
Defunct Nairobi County Council Nurses Go On Strike, Citing Discrimination By The Government
Why Jahmby Kokai is happy her TV anchor dream never came true
37 minutes ago
Popular media personality Jahmby Koikai narrated how her first attempt at auditioning as a TV host backfired and she was sent home on the first day of the audition. Reliving her prime days, Jahmby narrated how she was determined to follow her dream of becoming a news anchor after completing her degree.
“There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro FM. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it.
“Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu?” she posed.
According to the endometriosis survivor, she went ahead to audition for the position despite the warning and was the first contestant to be sent packing.
“So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said some of us have to go home.
“My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news,” she narrated.
Later, Jahmby auditioned for another TV opportunity only to miss out as well.
“Then came another opportunity over 10 years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. I didn’t get the job.”
However, due to endometriosis, Jahmby was forced to put her dreams on hold and concentrate on getting better. According to her, it is as though God had better plans for her and is grateful to not have gotten the jobs.
“I battled severe endometriosis in silence for over 19 years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilized all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant.”
There was a reality show that was running on one major TV channel here in Kenya, searching for the next top news anchor. I’ve always had the knack for news. At the time, I was working at Metro Fm. Walked to my boss and asked him if he was ok with me participating in this competition. He agreed to it. Auditions were at Film Studios. The queue stretched all the way to the showground. I was at the back kabisa. Imagine 300 people before you. Then we got the briefing paper and it indicated, ‘no persons with experience in a media house allowed to participate in this audition’. Mimi Jahmby Koikai, nirudi home after watu 300 kukuwa mbele yangu? Nikasema zi. So I stayed in line until I got to the audition room. The judges were a few people I was in campus with. I felt a wave of despair. Like I’m here auditioning, yet my classmates will be judging me? I did my thing and I was considered. We got into the house and we were assigned to different groups. I was the group leader and we won the challenge. Later that evening, we were driven back to Film Studios for a briefing. The presenter of the show said, some of us have to go home. My name was called out first amongst other great people. We were dropped home. I cried. It felt like I’d lost such a great opportunity. My mom and late grandma were so sad cos they loved to watch me do the news. Then came another opportunity over 10years ago, I saw a TV ad and decided to apply for the news anchor position. As you see in this pic, I got my hair done at Ralph’s Hair Salon, new suit etc. I didn’t get the job. After KBC, I never got to anchor the news again. I’m grateful I did not get the job even though I felt dejected at the time. I battled severe Endometriosis in silence for over 19years. I think of how engaging the newsroom is and I’m grateful I wasn’t in that space. I’d have utilised all my sick-leaves and off-days and just declared redundant. There are many people like me who are bound by chronic illness and cannot do the things they love. I share your pain. But there’s hope. I’m grateful to God for His reminder that He will restore to you all the years that the locusts have eaten. Also Jer 29:11