Business, Economics and Jobs

Should first graders learn how to code?


Fourth-grade students learn computer skills in the elementary school at the John F. Kennedy Schule dual-language public school on September 18, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. The German government will host a summit on education in Germany scheduled for mid-October in Dresden. Germany has consistantly fallen behind in recent years in comparison to other European countries in the Pisa education surveys, and Education Minister Annette Schavan is pushing for an 8 percent increase in the national educaiton budget for 2009.


Sean Gallup

There is no question that knowledge of programming languages, specialized software and other technological skills makes an individual more competitive in the job market these days. However, most children are rarely exposed to computer science education until college.

The Guardian’s John Naughton hopes to change that in the UK with a manifesto for teaching computer science in the 21st century, which was delivered to Secretary of State for Education Michael Grove. 

In Naughton’s plan for computer science education, he argues that all children at all stages of education should have access to computer science education. 

“We believe every child should have the opportunity to learn computer science, from primary school up to and including further education. We teach elementary physics to every child, not primarily to train physicists but because each of them lives in a world governed by physical systems. In the same way, every child should learn some computer science from an early age because they live in a world in which computation is ubiquitous. A crucial minority will go on to become the engineers and entrepreneurs who drive the digital economy, so there is a complementary economic motivation for transforming the curriculum,” Naughton argued.

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Research has shown that learning a new language becomes much more difficult for individuals past the ages of puberty. Perhaps the same is true of programming languages?

Why shouldn’t 8-year olds learn C# along with reading and math?