Make IT skills a statutory part of the primary curriculum

Make IT skills a statutory part of the primary curriculum – Noone
Dublin Senator Catherine Noone has urged the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, to make IT skills a statutory part of the primary school curriculum.
“A recent RTÉ programme, Class Swap, featured a group of Irish students spending a week in a Spanish school. It revealed the Spanish students were far more advanced in IT skills than their Irish counterparts. This was attributed to the fact that IT skills are part of the Spanish curriculum at primary level.
“This is a situation that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Up to 44,000 IT-related jobs are expected to be created in the IT sector in Ireland over the next few years – a trend which looks set to continue. Having the right policies to develop meet these needs is of the utmost importance for both international and indigenous companies. This includes having a sufficient number of graduates with the relevant skills.
“Moreover, a CoderDojo conference in Sligo last Saturday, saw some of the world’s leading tech companies backing plans to expand CoderDojo clubs for children who want to learn computing coding. This is very encouraging news – but it also highlights the current lack of emphasis that our primary schools place on IT skills for students.
“According to CoderDojo, a strong collaboration from Government, civil society and industry peers is needed to embed coding skills through curriculum based learning and non-formal education such as after school coding clubs.
“Although a Framework for ICT in the primary curriculum was published in 2007- it was only put into practice by some schools.
“I acknowledge that great strides have been made in encouraging secondary students to study IT and STEM subjects in general – and that the Department of Education is currently putting together a new digital strategy for schools. But it’s imperative that the teaching of IT skills at primary level now becomes a statutory part of the primary school curriculum and I am urging the Minister to ensure this is part of the new strategy.”

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