The Welsh government has announced that it will give schools £1.3 million to set up computer coding clubs. The news comes as a part of the a £100 million investment over five years to raise school standards.
With the growing importance of coding and programming, along with a widening skills gap, education secretary Kirsty Williams has said that she wants to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to get involved. As reported by the BBC, she commented: "Code is part of almost everyone’s life. When we check out social media, access an app or computer we are using systems created through code. It is an essential building block of our modern world and I want to make sure as many of our young people have knowledge of it as they develop their digital skills."
This investment will see the number of code clubs in Wales increase from the current number of 300. The Welsh government will hope that it will help salvage schools that had previously been branded as being in danger of being left behind.
In 2015 a new national curriculum was proposed for introduction by 2021 that would see computer programming given the same level of emphasis as literacy and numeracy.
While the governments of both Wales and England have introduced plans to increase the level of coding education in schools, there have been some critics of how the process of its introduction has gone on.
One vocal critic is Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton who, speaking to PCR last week, branded the government’s efforts to get teachers up to speed ‘an embarrasment’. He said that while the curriculum has changed, ‘the government’s investment in teacher training to support that has been wholly inadequate’, and that it’s ‘not fair’ that ‘you’re expecting people who don’t necessarily have quite the right skillset to go and deliver that in the classroom’.
While it remains to be seen how much investment will be made in ‘educating the educators’, what’s for certain is that the government is paying attention to the need to improve coding education and knows of its necessity in the growing digital economy.