The Internet is increasingly important to the future of the world’s economy. There is however a really big problem. The education systems that are currently in place, do not push the needed and required skills enough. Therein lies the issue; it comes down to the priority of the education policy.
Only a handful of governments are putting structural systems in place to teach coding from the earliest level, these are; Israel, New Zealand, South Korea, USA, and the UK. In the UK the issue has shot up the political agenda, this is thanks, in part, by the explosion of start-ups rising from the country. In 2014, the UK will be the first major G20 economy to put coding at the heart of the school curriculum on a national level.
It’s a promising time period, as this year marks the 25th anniversary of the world wide web, given to us by British scientist, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. At the Skills 2014 Summit conference in London, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne and Education Secretary, Michael Gove, have announced a new initiative to train teachers in software coding to encourage these core skills and by doing this, technology focussed free enterprise.
The UK Government will give £500,000 in matched-funding which will be awarded to ‘expert computing organisations’ who are willing to provide another 50% of funding for projects to train teachers in presenting the new technology oriented computing curriculum. Businesses in the UK will be given the opportunity to bid for a portion of this fund later in February.
£500,000 may sound like a relatively small amount of funding, given the scale of the issue, but a government spokesperson have told TechCrunch that the funding should to be seen in the context of existing commitments in the field. There is also £1.1 million dedicated to the ‘Computing at School’ project to help train primary school teachers already working in the classroom through in school workshops and online resources. The government has also enlarged bursaries for those wanting to become computing teachers. Scholarships of £25,000 – backed by Facebook, Google, Microsoft and IBM– are being offered to computer science teachers.
This new funding is part of the UK government’s support for the UK’s Year of Code, a campaign modelled around the Hour of Code programme from the US. The campaign will encourage the implementation of computer programming amongst teachers and children. The campaign has the backing of organisations including BBC, CodeAcademy, CoderDojo, amongst many others.
The Year of Code campaign will see a series of events take place over the next year to promote computing. It will include a weeklong program in March, which encourages all UK schools to teach every pupil at least one hour of coding in that week. The government has said that coding become compulsory for every child aged 5-16 years old.
[Image via thenextweb]