The Next Gen ICT report by Livingstone and Hope is still causing ripples in education. ‘Coding is the New Latin’ goes the refrain and BBC web-article so-titled accrued over 600 comments.
The vast majority deprecated school ICT as being nothing more than preparation for glorified typing-pool duties and predictably extolled the virtues of coding.
I agree, but such sentiment must come with a health warning. Coding, like Sport, is not for all. ‘Sport for all’ in an Olympic year which celebrates ultimate elitism gives the lie to one of the most well-known and vapid clichÃ© of inclusiveness. Ditto ‘coding for all’: coding is an elite sport.
Elitism is saluted in every aspect of life from Premier League Football to Masterchef but it has had no place in state-funded education since parent-power did away with Grammar Schools.
As we all know however, in today’s society, elitism in education is alive and well ... but only if you have the cash to pay for an exclusive education where ironically you will also have the opportunity to learn Latin.
I am a product of state-funded elitism. I went to an elite Grammar school (learnt Latin and a bit of Cobol) and University. I was fully funded by HM Gov from age 4 to 25. That seems so weird now.
My siblings both failed to get selected and both left school at 16 with one CSE each. It was a different world in which some children from all backgrounds were selected and placed in an academic Ninja camp by the State for reasons not discussed today.
But I am not alone. The overwhelming majority of this Coalition Government share my background (ignore the Public School educated leaders, they are the exception not the rule) especially in the education departments. They all did Latin too.
I fully expect that computer coding skills will be introduced into syllabuses, such is the low status of ICT and so obvious is the need to up-skill the next generation.
However such is the level of abstraction involved in coding that we will need an elite cadre to take advantage of such teaching. To do this we will see the return of selective academic and technical education funded by the state. Brace yourselves.
Don’t forget the motto of the blogger: “merda taurorum animas conturbit “