The new education system part 5

As mentioned in the previous blog, information technology is critical for a country to stay competitive and provide more job opportunities for their people. To do this, every country needs to increase the number of students with computing skills at all levels, from elementary, high schools, to the college level and beyond.

Last summer, during a meeting with Asian Educators in Malaysia, I voiced my opinion that information technology education should begin early in elementary and high school, NOT later in college as some people still believe. A person told me: “Of course, many parents would like their children to learn more computing skills, but only a few schools would offer this type of training because technology and STEM education are still considered a luxury rather than a necessity.” I explained: “That is wrong because today computer is becoming a foundational skill, just like reading and writing and almost all future jobs will require this skill so it is necessary to start as early as possible. According to a global study, there are 4 million open computing jobs in 2017 and the number is expected to rise to 6 million by the end of 2018. Many companies are having a problem filling these open positions and without proper information technology education actions now, many jobs will still be unfilled as the shortage continues.”

Another person asked: “But how do we change an “archaic” education system by adding computer classes? There are a lot of talks but no actions? I explained: “To make a difference, you need a strong support from government and the public to build a teaching capacity first. Changing in education must start with the teachers and without a government and public support to retraining the teachers, nothing will happen. It is easy to adopt a new curriculum from somewhere. It is easy to add a few computer classes to current training program but without the qualified teachers, nothing will happen. You need to have a comprehensive plan for retraining teachers on technology education. Without them, how could you train students? I think computer training should be a key subject to be taught in every school, just like math, physics, and chemistry etc. You have math teachers and science teachers, you should also have computer teachers too. Without computer teachers with the skills to teach computer science, nothing can happen. Every change in education must begin with the teachers and without consider the important roles of the teachers, your education system will not improve.”

Sources

  • Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University

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