Amazon donates $15m to help students from underserved communities

24 Feb 2021, 23:37

  DF News Desk

File Photo Xinhua.

Amazon on Wednesday announced a 15-million-U.S.-dollar donation from Amazon Future Engineer to nonprofit Code.org to support the development and launch of a new equity-minded Advanced Placement computer science programming curriculum, reported Xinhua.

   The new curriculum will teach students the same tools and concepts as the existing AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) course, and it will be built inclusively to take into account the unique cultural perspectives, interests, and experiences of Black, Latino, Native American (BLNA), and other minority students, the announcement said.

   By using a research-backed and culturally responsive approach to teaching in the curriculum, Code.org and Amazon Future Engineer hope to increase equitable access, participation, and achievement in computer science (CS) among high school students of all backgrounds and encourage more BLNA students to pursue careers in engineering.

   According to the College Board, which administers the AP program, black students who take the AP CSA course are seven times more likely to study CS in college. However, while Black students made up 15 percent of the U.S. student body in 2020, they comprised only 3.5 percent of exam takers -- down from 3.9 percent in 2019 and largely flat for the years prior.

   Additionally, only 14 percent of the 70,000 students who took the AP CSA exam in 2020 were from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups and only 25 percent of students identified as female, according to Code.org, said the announcement.

   "Since its inception, our Amazon Future Engineer program has worked to ensure more students have the resources and skills they need to build their best futures," said Jeff Wilke, former CEO Worldwide Consumer at Amazon. "With our donation to Code.org, we hope that even more students -- from a wider variety of backgrounds -- will be inspired and prepared to pursue computer science in high school, college, and beyond."