MEDIA RELEASE - Coding in schools welcomed, but we cannot wait any longer
Sydney, May 15: Australia's peak representative body for the ICT profession, the ACS, welcomes the announcement by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten that a Labor Government would introduce a suit of initiatives, including coding in schools, to promote a greater focus on the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related skills which are critical for our workforce in a digital world.
According to ACS CEO Andrew Johnson; 'The evidence globally is compelling. The jobs of the future will require core skills in computational thinking and coding. These are the new foundation skills for the students of today.'
However the timetable must be moved forward if Australia is to benefit from the growth in the digital economy, according to Mr Johnson.
'It's great to see the announcements in last night's budget reply speech, but we simply can't wait until 201 7 to implement this. The ACS urges bipartisanship from our political parties on this critical issue. Together with the strong support for coding and STEM skills we are now seeing from the business community, the ACS believes we now have a powerful platform and alignment of views to take these initiatives forward immediately." Mr Johnson said.
"In the UK, the Government has worked collaboratively with the British Computer Society and the ICT industry to help train teachers who can then go on to teach coding. It is already happening over there and we and the business community stand ready to work with the political parties to get this underway in Australia, so we can start building a skilled digital workforce for the future'
The ACS particularly welcomes initiatives to increase tertiary STEM study levels.
"We have long been flagging the issue around declining enrolments in the STEM disciplines, and we certainly welcome changes to encourage greater participation.'
'Ultimately, we see this as a wonderful opportunity to ensure Australia has the skills, the jobs and the workforce needed to prosper in a digital future.'
Thomas Shanahan, Australian Computer Society, 0449 902 130