Ambitious joint initiative with USAID will award $1.2 million to embed ethics in computer science curricula at institutions around the world

Expansion will build on four years of success at U.S. universities

(INDIA & KENYA | WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2022) – Today, Mozilla and USAID are announcing the expansion of the Responsible Computer Science Challenge (RCS) to India and Kenya. Fueled by four successful years in the U.S., the expansion will embed ethics within computer science courses at leading universities in Asia and Africa.

Over the past four years, RCS has awarded $3.5 million to 19 universities across the U.S. to support the conceptualization, piloting, and scaling of curricula that integrate ethics with computer science training. With funding from Mozilla, Schmidt Futures, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, awardees from the first round of RCS across the U.S. have created 100 distinct classes with more than 15,000 students. Faculty span the social sciences, humanities, and computer science disciplines.

Now, the initiative is preparing to award an additional $1.2 million to educational institutions in Kenya and India. Mozilla and USAID will open the application process for institutions in Kenya starting November 2022, and winning institutions will be announced February 2023. The dates for India are to be released soon. These winners will then set to work designing and teaching curricula that empower undergraduate students to recognize and address systemic inequities embedded in computational systems. Specifically, the RCS awards will go to institutional faculty to develop course materials that integrate social and technical perspectives in introductory computing courses.

Says Crystal Lee, Senior Fellow at Mozilla co-leading RCS: “The program’s expansion speaks to the global nature of computing and the ethical dilemmas that stem from geographic inequities. Despite technology's ability to facilitate new forms of connection and creativity, the benefits and harms of these technologies have not been distributed equally.”

The program’s expansion speaks to the global nature of computing and the ethical dilemmas that stem from geographic inequities.

Crystal Lee, Senior Fellow at Mozilla

Lee continued: “Existing computing curricula rarely covers topics outside of the Global North even though a bulk of computing work — particularly the labor that undergirds many AI systems — is conducted in India and Kenya. By educating a new wave of graduating technologists who design products with an eye to social and historical context, the Challenge will drive a culture shift towards a more just computing ecosystem.”

In addition to creating curricula, RCS has also produced the Teaching Responsible Computing Playbook. Built by an interdisciplinary team of 32 contributors, it features best practices for educating a new generation of students to think holistically about the design of technologies. Award winners in India and Kenya will contribute to this playbook over the upcoming years.

Press contacts:

Africa & Europe | Tracy Kariuki, [email protected]

Asia & North America | Kevin Zawacki, [email protected]