Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

Debate over Coding for Kids

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Coding in school curriculum

Various edutech startups have been in the news for the past several months over the debate on the right age for children to start learning to code.

Q.The National Education Policy, 2020 proposal for “coding activities” reads like Macaulay’s minute for English education in the early 19th century. Examine.

What is Coding?

  • Computers have their own language called programming language which tells them what to do.
  • Coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer to behave how you want it to.
  • In a broader sense, it is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a specific task.

In today’s digital age, most toddlers in their diapers, learn to swipe and click before they can speak apparently or walk. What an irony!

Coding for children

  • In the age of digital revolution, India was able to produce a huge army of coders and programmers —essentially people who could create computer software.
  • As computing devices have taken over every aspect of life, the need for good programmers and coders has been increasing relentlessly.
  • This led to a trend to teach coding and programming to young students since their school ages.
  • In recent years, platforms and companies have started to claim that kids as young as those in elementary school must begin to learn to code.

Proponents for coding

  • Leaders of technology companies around the world have pushed for coding to be included as a subject in middle or higher secondary school for students who may be interested to learn.
  • In 2018, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote in a blog post that everyone could benefit from learning the basics of computer science.
  • The idea was to make coding as simple and accessible as the new age “mother tongue” for young children.

Why should children learn to code?

  • Coding is a basic literacy in the digital age, and it is important for kids to understand and be able to work with and understand the technology around them.
  • It fosters creativity. By experimenting, children learn and strengthen their creativity. It enhances their problem-solving capability.
  • It helps children to be able to visualize abstract concepts, lets them apply math to real-world situations, and makes math fun and creative. Coding is present in many of today’s STEM programs.
  • Children who learn to code understand how to plan and organize thoughts.  This can lead to better writing skills that can be built upon as coding skills develop over time.

Criticisms of early age coding

  • A metaphor that is often used is that children are being made to ride a bicycle before they have even learnt to walk.
  • There’s a reason why in mathematics addition is taught first, then subtraction, then multiplication, and then division.
  • It is necessary to learn several elements of mathematics and logical thinking before one can code.
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