Lets face it, French, although considered a “modern language”, is boring as hell. And while I only really had the choice between French or German at school, kids today are being offered the chance to learn another language, a language that isn’t necessarily spoken, and that’s the programming language Python.
According to a new study conducted by Ocado Technology, Python has become a more popular language to learn in Primary Schools than French, which is fantastic. But there’s one problem, as children get older, Computer Science GCSE is, for some bizarre reason, being considered an “easy option” and thus, is often avoided by students.
As the world becomes more technologically advanced, we rely on younger generations to learn and improve what those before them have achieved, so to find out that Computer Science GCSEs are being avoided, is a bit of a problem.
Ocado Technology’s study, which was published yesterday, reveals that it all starts off pretty well with “six out of 10 parents want their primary school age children to learn the coding language over French. While 75% of primary school children said they would rather learn how to programme a robot than learn the modern foreign language,” according to the findings.
Sadly, as students progress and they’re now given the choice to decide what they want to learn, Computer Science is often avoided. According to the study “over half of parents (53%) believe the Computer Science GCSE is seen as an ‘easy option’ in their schools.”
“Unfortunately this is an example of a wider and more serious problem that we face in terms of Computer Science in the UK not being treated as the serious engineering discipline that it undoubtedly is,” said Paul Clarke, Director of Technology at Ocado. “The irony is that this is at a time when we are facing a massive shortfall in the number of software engineers and IT specialists who will be required to help build out the UK’s digital economy.”
So how can that problem be overcome? Simple, Ocado Technology is calling on the government to make Computer Science GCSE mandatory like Maths and English. Something I personally support and would have loved to have taken part in during my own time in school.
That’s not all Ocado Technology have done however, it has also created a free coding teaching resource called Rapid Router, which is currently being used by over 30,000 schools, pupils, and teachers and is a key stage 1 and 2 resource.
It allows students to learn work-related coding skills and also includes a coding game with a “create” mode so students can build their own challenges for others to solve. For key stage 2 students, Rapid Router allows them to learn the Python programming language.
If that wasn’t all, Ocado Technology is also offering a ton of resources for teachers to help with the delivery of the Computing curriculum, including a series of instructional videos, which you can see here.