Move Over Geography and History – Coding Is Taking Over Primary Schools!
It’s a mind-boggling fact that many of the jobs our current primary school children will work in when they are adults haven’t even been invented yet – so how do schools prepare children for a future that is so unknowable? According to Australia’s education ministers, one of the most important ways is by teaching them coding and programming.
Digital technologies are now considered as crucial as English and maths, and unfortunately Australia is already seen as lagging behind – the United Kingdom introduced coding in primary schools in 2014, and Google and Microsoft are supporting children’s coding programs implemented across the United States.
In an already overcrowded curriculum there’s simply no room to introduce another subject – just ask any time-poor teacher! – so under the new Australian curriculum, geography and history will no longer be taught as separate subjects and coding will bustle its way in for children as young as Grade 5. Programming will begin in Year 7 to help as many students as possible grasp the ‘global language’ of the future.
Large corporations are beginning to do their part to help instil digital confidence in children today. Telstra have partnered with Code Club Australia, an organisation that facilitates out-of-school-hours Coding Clubs for children aged 9 to 11 years. Each club runs weekly hour-long sessions led by teachers and volunteers at primary schools, to teach kids the basics of coding through creating games. The sessions aim to be a fun and creative way of problem solving and learning.
There will also be an overarching attempt to bolster the nation’s performance in the field of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), so we can keep up in this competitive environment and help fill a potential future skills shortage.
Alongside the introduction of computer coding, the Australian government will be putting $12 million into various STEM initiatives, including the development of an innovative maths curriculum and the funding of summer schools for STEM students from low socio-economic or minority groups.
Hopefully we can avoid a scenario where jobs in coding and programming outnumber the skilled workers who can tackle the critical tasks of the future.