In a fresh bid to demonstrate their goodwill and ability to benefit the general populace, Indian IT giants TCS and Infosys have made commitments towards supporting President Barack Obama’s recently announced $4-billion ‘Computer Science for All’ initiative, for children in the US.
Computer Science for all is President Obama’s attempt to ensure that at least a portion of the vast number of IT and tech related jobs in the US, can be filled by the native population. As per a statement on the White House’s official website, the initiative seeks,
To empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world. Our economy is rapidly shifting, and both educators and business leaders are increasingly recognizing that computer science (CS) is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility.
The news of the participation was announced by the White House on Saturday, when it confirmed that the Indian IT giants had joined the likes of Google, in furthering the initiative in the country.
The investments will take the form of a public private partnership through the National Science Foundation (NSF) and will aid in equipping teachers in computer science skills.
Infosys Foundation USA will be a founding member of this public-private collaboration with a $1million philanthropic donation, and, as an initial participant, Tata Consultancy Services is providing additional support in the form of grants to teachers in 27 US cities. This collaboration will ultimately provide opportunities for as many as 2,000 middle- and highschool teachers to deepen their understanding of CS,
The move comes even as the vast, $146 Billion Indian IT industry is under fire from sections of the US population, who are accusing it of taking away jobs from Americans. The country, which is a favorite destination for migrating IT professionals from India and elsewhere on account of its job rich environment, has recently made regulatory changes that make it harder for companies to bring professionals from abroad.
The recent investments by the IT firms, coming at a time when the nation is heading towards general elections, thus acquire even greater significance.
Although, in all fairness the Indian IT industry has done far more than just take jobs from US nationals. As per data from a NASSCOM report, not only did Indian IT firms invest more than $2 billion in the 2011-2013 period, but also paid $22.5 billion in taxes and were responsible for almost 411,000 direct and indirect jobs in the US.
However, that’s neither here nor there. The regulatory noose has continued to tighten, making life difficult for both emigrating professionals as well as the firms inviting them to the country. This latest attempt may perhaps serve to convince the government that there is no bias in handing out jobs, and that Indian firms would more than willing to hire US nationals, provided they possess the requisite skills.