UK government launches Year of Code campaign and £500,000 fund to train teachers in programming

UK government launches Year of Code campaign and £500,000 fund to train teachers in programming

In the UK, education secretary Michael Gove and chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne today launched Year of Code, a new campaign designed to raise awareness and interest in computer programming.

Organizers will hold a number of events over the next 12 months to promote coding, including a week-long stint in March which will encourage every school in the region to teach pupils at least one hour of basic programming. Although details are scarce at the moment, it sounds similar to the ‘Hour of Code‘ campaign set up for Computer Science Education Week in the US last December.

“Computer coding is the lingua franca of the global technology economy,” said Rohan Silva, chairman for the Year of Code project. “If the UK is to remain at the vanguard of innovation worldwide, we need to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the skills of the 21st century, not of the past. Year of Code is all about making sure this vital change takes place – and fast.”

In addition, Osborne and Gove detailed a new £500,000 fund today to teach new and existing teachers about computer programming.

The Department for Education is introducing a new computing syllabus this September, which will be compulsory for all students between the ages of 5 and 16. It’s a massive shift and at present, some teachers are probably feeling unversed or ill-equipped to deliver it in their classroom.

The £500,000 ring-fenced today will be awarded to businesses who are prepared to match the funding and then use the allocation for projects that train teachers across the UK. Ministers will detail how to bid for the grants later this month.

Read Next: On a mission: How Codecademy is helping the UK government to get programming into the classroom / Codecademy: Hour of Code app for the iPhone lets you learn basic programming anytime, anywhere

Image Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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