Australia’s national curriculum is getting a trim with the scrapping of history and geography as stand-alone subjects and replacing this with 21st century computer coding.
According to the Australian, a new digital technologies curriculum was endorsed by Australia’s education ministers yesterday which would see students as young as early as Year 5 picking up computer coding with students starting to program by Year 7.
The push for young kids and students to take up coding and programming in Australian schools has been gathering momentum especially among the country’s top tech execs such as Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes.
“Technology education in primary and high school is going to be one of our biggest fails as a country in 20 years time if we don’t fix it and it may already be too late if we don’t move very fast,” Cannon-Brookes told Business Insider earlier last month.
“If you look at what other countries are doing, we’re miles and miles behind and I think it’s as critical as maths or English to every single job that’s going to be done in the economy in 20 years time and education takes a long time to flow through.”
Earlier this year, Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne pledged to strengthen Australia’s science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) skills base as well to bolster the digital skills needed to succeed in the highly competitive tech environment of the 21st century.
“We know that as computer driven smart-technology expands into every aspect of our recreational and working lives, there is an ever growing need for highly skilled workers in this global growth industry. All children will need to understand is computational thinking and how it can contribute to their future.
“We are investing in computer coding across different year levels in Australian schools, and STEM education more broadly to ensure young Australians and our nation can grasp the opportunities the high-tech future offers.”
The new curriculum echoes successful programs implemented in the United States such as Code.org and “Hour of Code”, with the support of Google and Microsoft, including the United Kingdom who introduced coding in primary schools last year.
It is estimated that 75% of fast-growing occupations will require STEM skills in science, technology, engineering or maths.