Should coding be the new Latin?

Google, Microsoft and other leading tech firms are getting behind a campaign to boost the teaching of computer skills in schools with some saying that coding should become the new Latin.

These computer giants are lending their support to 'Next Gen' - a report that was pitched to the government earlier this year which argued that the UK could become a 'global hub' for the creative industries but only if the education system pulled its socks up.

Looking at recent statistics on the number of people going to university to study things like computing, you can understand why the digital industry is urging ministers to review the system.

Everyone knows that computers are the tool of the 21st century as Alex Hope, co-author of this Livingstone Hope Review points out. It's just that the UK isn't doing enough to encourage or support the next generation of programmers.

But it's believed the problem doesn't start at university. Those campaigning for change believe it starts at school with ICT - a subject that they feel doesn't do enough to teach computing skills. Plus the number of pupils choosing to study ICT is declining every year, so it seems they're not too interested either.

So if the education system isn't doing enough to teach pupils about computers and children aren't interested, how do you get them thinking about a career in computing? Well, the people who are calling for change believe computer science has to be taken seriously with the introduction of coding on the national curriculum. They want to see a fresh, new approach.

It's not a bad idea when you consider the state of our economy and the number of young people currently out of work. The government is looking for opportunities for growth and there's no better place than the creative and digital industries, in my humble opinion.

The government is expected to respond to the Livingstone Hope Review today. It will be interesting to see whether they take computer science seriously and if they really do see the digital industries as an opportunity for growth in the UK. But I'll reserve judgment until I see just how they're going to implement change, if any.

I certainly hope they don't think that dishing out a load of new computer equipment and software will be the answer. It will take a lot more effort to teach the next generation about coding, that's for sure. It's not something that can happen overnight but positive changes now will be a step in the right direction.

Katy Cowan

Manchester, England,