Coding - will it be the new Latin in UK Schools?

In the news this week was the government’s positive response to a report from NextGen by Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope saying that school ICT was pants and kids should learn to code. I should be happy after all I have been saying this...

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In the news this week was the government’s positive response to a report from NextGen by Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope saying that school ICT was pants and kids should learn to code.

I should be happy after all I have been saying this stuff for years and years including spookily in last week’s blog. But somehow I am not. What’s bugging me if you pardon the pun? Maybe this excert is the problem.

The DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) response considered the 20 points for action given in Next Gen and said that, as well as looking into ICT reform, it would take action on other fronts including investigating ways to tempt good teachers of computer science into schools and stepping up plans to get game makers and effects artists to talk to pupils about their work

Well for starters who the heck is DCMS? Culture, media and sport? Sounds like a retard dept made up for those civil servants and MPs who did not go to Oxbridge and have GCSEs in Media Studies and PE. These folk surely will have good grip on why coding is important to the workplace.

It seems that indeed they do, coding is needed for media!!...you know graphics and games old boy..that Mario chap what a hoot... and did you see the raptor in Jurrassic Park ? so life like. Yes we could save the economy by rendering Lara’s boobs with even more bounce.

I should not be so cynical I know, anything that reforms ICT has to be a good thing but it is so depressing that we have to operate on HM Gov at this level. If we find only too often that those in power have good Classics and Politics degrees but are nearly innumerate how much worse it is when we need to appeal to their understanding of technology.

Coders are needed in the economy everywhere, in so many nooks and crannies. I wrote a custom invoice package (OSS) for my brother’s company which monolithic SAGE could not match, it was not hard, it was simply needed for good business. Every bit of data from an MRI scanner needs hosts of scripts to interpret and here a working knowledge of Maths CAD is very helpful.

It goes on endlessly. Proprietary packages do not necessarily do what you want, so then what do you do if you cannot code?

Yes, please reform ICT, make Coding the new Latin but it’s so much more important than the graphics or games industry it’s fundamental to our business and scientific competitiveness.