Australia will begin teaching coding from the 5th grade

Seeking to future-proof its next generation of young people, Australia’s public school system will begin teaching students computer coding as early as in their 5th year of primary school, with full-blown programming set to begin from year 7.According to The Australian, the new curriculum was approved by the now former Education Minister Christopher Pyne prior to being sworn into his new role as Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science.Like many developed nations in the “western world,” a greater emphasis is being placed on a STEM education — science, technology, education, math — to prepare students for livelihoods that are increasingly dependent on digital literacy and informatics, skills that could accelerate or hamper future economic growth.”High quality school STEM education is critically important for Australia’s productivity and economy wellbeing, both now and into the future,” states Pyne in a statement. To kick off the initiative, A$12 million is being allocated into the development of four separate tie-in programs: an innovative math program, the introduction of computer coding, a P-TECH style school pilot, and the funding of STEM-focused summer schools for underrepresented groups. Although the number of schools that could possibly be affected by such a miniscule amount of money is questionable.Still, it’s a start. But in Europe, where it’s estimated that 900,000 new jobs in the ICT sector will need filling by 2020, the prerogative is slightly more urgent. Back in Fall 2014, England had already mandated that all children between the ages of 5 and 16 be given computer science classes in all of its national public schools.In fact, a study conducted in October 2014 (around the time England made its decree) found that 11 other countries that are beginning to include computer programming in their primary school curriculums include: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and Portugal.As for the United States, the decision to integrate computer science into early education is currently left to the discretion of each state’s local government.Do you think this will have an effect on our ability to compete in the future? Read more here.

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