Commissioners urge coding classes at school

  
Coding
Schools in Estonia introduced coding for pupils in 2012 [Shutterstock]

The two commissioners in charge of the digital agenda, and youth and education, have written to to the EU's 28 education ministers, urging them to give every child the opportunity to develop basic coding skills at school.

Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, and Youth and Education Commissioner Androulla Vasiliou, wrote a letter to the EU's 28 education ministers, urging them to give every child the opportunity to develop basic coding skills at school.

In the letter, the commissioners state that children in the EU need to be better equipped to work in the digital era, at a time when youth unemployment is one of Europe's biggest challenges.

The Commission expects a shortage of 900,000 ICT practitioners in the European labour market by 2020.

But coding will not just support studies in maths, science, technology and engineering, the commissioners said.

"Coding will also directly help students to develop transversal skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, team working, and creativity. Starting early means that they will be more inclined to consider computer science studies and ICT related careers," they wrote.

The Commission believes that "coding is the literacy of today" as every interaction on computers is governed by code. Basic coding skills will also be needed for many jobs in the near future and more than 90% of professional occupations nowadays require some ICT competence, though the number of graduates in computer science is not keeping pace with this demand for skills.

Coding has been taught in Estonian schools since 2012 while the UK will introduce programming in the national curriculum this year. France has also announced the introduction of an optional coding course in primary schools and Finland and Italy are considering coding initiatives for young people.

Timeline: 
  • 2 Aug.: Cyprus to host a coding event for elementary and high school students.
  • 11-17 Oct.: EU code week.
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