In today's era where technology is evolving faster than we can imagine, it looks like that it is also playing a big part in children's education.
In a recent research by Ocado, an online supermarket from Britain, it was discovered that more than 70% of children would rather learn computer programming than to learn a foreign language. Furthermore, it was seen that even parents would prefer their children to learn how to code than for them to learn French.
Paul Clarke, Ocado's director of technology stated that the wide availability and affordability of computing technologies like the Raspberry Pi might be the reason behind this, as well as the new curriculum of schools that highlight computer subjects. He stated further:
Writing software is an amazingly exciting and creative discipline. You start with a blank canvas and then, step by step, you create something that can solve a problem, play a game, or control a robot. Seeing what you have created actually do something, and knowing that it came out of your head, is incredibly satisfying.
However, despite this, Ocado has also discovered that while more and more children are trying their hand at computer programming, when they reach secondary school, more than half of these students think that a GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) in computer science is the "easy option." With this in consideration, Ocado is proposing that computer science must become a mandatory subject at the GCSE level, in line with the usual mathematics and English classes.
“This educational deficit, and the misconceptions regarding computer science that it reinforces, means there is a serious shortfall in the number of UK-grown quality software engineers entering [the] industry, especially women,” said Clarke. He said that while they still continue to recruit people in the UK as fast as they can, the shortfall in recruitment is pushing them towards opening a number of development centers in mainland Europe.
Ocado has also developed Rapid Router, which aids in teaching computer coding to students. They are also releasing videos that assist teachers in deploying the new computer science curriculum.
"Learning to code is important for children as a tool in their wider education, in their careers and as parents of the future. Mandating computer science at GCSE level would send a vital message about the importance of teaching children to code," said Clarke.
Back in 2014, a similar effort was done to promote programming. US President Barack Obama kicked off the "Hour of Code" event, which helped kids, and even adults, learn the basics of coding.