Australia has scrapped history and geography as core national curriculum subjects and has replaced them with computer coding.
According to news site the Australian, the announcement was made by one of the country’s education ministers, Christopher Pyne, who revealed that children as young as Year 5 will learn to code and from Year 7 students will learn to program.
The UK introduced coding into primary schools last year, following successful programmes in the US such a Code.org and Hour of Code.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has pushed for a greater focus on coding and science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) subjects in schools from primary level as part of his drive for more focus on innovation and preparing for jobs of the forte.
As part of the announcement the government has pledged to invest $12 million into four Stem initiatives; an innovative maths curriculum, adding computer coding to the curriculum, a P-TECH-style school pilot site and funding for summer schools for underrepresented Stem students.
In a statement Pyne said: “High quality school STEM education is critically important for Australia’s productivity and economy wellbeing, both now and into the future.
“We are restoring the focus on STEM subjects in schools and making sure our teachers get more instruction on STEM during initial teacher training.”
Pyne became the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science yesterday as Turnbull revealed his new team. New South Wales senator Marise Payne also become Australia’s first female defence minister.
National coding week in UK
Australia’s news comes as the UK kicks of National Coding Week. Running from September 21-27 the campaign aims to encourage adults to learn coding and potentially create new career opportunities.
Free sessions will run throughout the week, which will teach the basics of coding alongside other beginners.
Richard Rolfe, co-founder of National Coding Week, said: “The key aims of National Coding Week are to encourage adults of any age to learn an element of computer coding, to encourage digital experts to share their skills, and to collaborate, share, learn and have fun! If I can learn to code at age 51 then anyone can!”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is supporting the event for the second year: “Coding is a language that is increasingly important for both young people and adults to understand, but it can be an intimidating prospect. National Coding Week will help to make whole generations of Brits more comfortable with coding, allowing them to embrace the business opportunities of the future.”
Organisations supporting the 2015 campaign include Decoded, Women Who Code, We Got Coders, Codeclan, Incubus London and International tech conference organisers Future Insights. This year’s event is sponsored by JT Group Global.
Results of an Accenture survey last week found that more than half of 12-year old girls in the UK and Ireland find Stem subjects too hard.
60% said Stem subjects are too difficult and 47% of the girls questions claimed such disciplines better suited their male counterparts.