Last week, British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark announced that the province’s public schools will begin to teach computer coding classes to students in kindergarten to Grade 12. Starting in September 2016, they’ll join New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as the first provinces in Canada to embrace technical education for young students. The goal of this education is to expose all students to coding basics and encourage the generation to become Canada’s next innovators.
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The Purpose for Incorporating Digital Skills Education into Curriculum
In British Columbia’s tech sector and across the country, there is a demand for workers with digital skills. To foster a knowledge economy that can sustain high-paying, in-demand jobs, young Canadians must learn the skills that they’ll be using in the future. According to British Columbia’s 2024 Labour Market Outlook, 70,000 job openings for technology and science professionals are expected within the next 10 years. Across Canada, this demand is amplified when considering the booming science and technology industries of Ontario and Québec.
Teaching young people the basic concepts and skills they’ll need for a successful future prepares them for an abundance of employment options and also enables Canadian small business success. So much of the country’s innovation comes from startups and small businesses who rely on talented young people. Cultivating this new economy needs to begin now so that when young people are graduating from school and looking for jobs, they’ll be ready to contribute towards Canada’s fastest growing sectors.
How Computer Coding will be taught to Canadian Youth
Children as young as five years old will begin to receive computer literacy education through new curriculum modifications. Students will begin learning about computer sciences through pattern recognition and other skill-building exercises, then progress to learning about specific coding and programing languages used to create advanced technology.
The purpose of this program is not to make all youth into science and technology professionals, but to provide useful knowledge and skills that translate into all areas in life. Computer coding helps to enhance critical thinking and creativity among young people; integrating it into education will help them be well prepared for any future occupation.
Is Computer Code the Language of the Future?
Computer code, at its simplest form, is a language used for humans to communicate with computers (or for computers to communicate with other computers). It’s used to create basic electronics, complex software, security systems, advanced manufacturing equipment, and entertainment.
We should be welcoming these types of modifications to public school curriculums across the country. Encouraging young people to engage with technology will help to address the country’s skilled labour shortfalls and promote innovation. Canada has a significant opportunity to dominate global industries if it can encourage young students to learn about the most in-demand skills. It’s only a matter of time before all Canadian provinces and territories offer similar programs to influence stronger businesses and economies.