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Trending in China: The Pros and Cons of Primary Schools Teaching Computer Programming

Carol Yuan / Dec 11, 2020 05:01 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

According to the Ministry of Education, China is planning to include computer programming in its primary and secondary school curriculum.

What’s the story?

On December 9, the Ministry of Education stated in its official response letter to members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference that it had formulated a special document to incorporate information on technological content, including computer programming, into the curricula of primary and secondary schools. It would also train teachers to implement the new aspects of the curricula.

The initiative aims to help students master the basic knowledge and skills of information technology, enhance information awareness, develop computational thinking, improve digital learning and innovation capabilities, and establish correct information society values, the Ministry of Education said in their letter.

Prior to this, the city of Xiamen in southeastern China announced in August that they will give classes on artificial intelligence in primary and secondary schools.

What are people saying online?

Opinions on social media are polarized. On the one hand, people feel that this is an inevitable development of the information era. “Our country needs a large number of people with these talents, and we should train as many people as possible to obtain these skills” one comment read.

On the other hand, opponents worry about the pressure on students and the feasibility of the move. “Do we have enough qualified teachers? Will we need to rely on tutoring institutions out of school and extra money from parents? Have you considered the difference between urban and rural areas?” read another comment.

While others criticized the idea of everyone in society needing computer programming skills, “I don’t support it. Not all professions need to be able to program. It only increases the pressure on children”.

Related: Book Review: Rural Youth Key to China’s Human Capital Crisis


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