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Singapore makes coding classes mandatory for primary school students, starting 2020

Written by Zhixin Tan Published on 

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Singapore wants to ensure everyone gets on board its digital journey.

All upper primary school students in Singapore will soon have to undergo a mandatory 10-hour coding program, said the country’s minister for communications and information, S Iswaran at a seminar on Wednesday.

The pilot program will begin this year at selected schools targeting students who have finished their Primary School Leaving Examination. It will be rolled out to all Primary 4 to 6 classrooms nationwide in 2020.

This initiative is aimed at helping young students develop an appreciation of computational thinking and coding concepts—through simple visual programming-based lessons—co-developed by the Ministry Of Education and the Infocommunications Media Development Authority. The curriculum will also include the basics of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.

At the core of this initiative is the intention to get everybody, regardless of age. familiarized with computer programming concepts. By exposing young Singaporeans to coding, the ministry hopes to nurture their digital readiness so they can remain relevant and armed with the fundamental skills and attributes to thrive in the new economy.

“Digitalization is here to stay, and we must accept and adapt to this new reality,” said Iswaran.

“We want to build a digital economy where every business is digitally empowered, every worker is digitally skilled and every citizen is digitally connected. This is our overall vision for an inclusive digital Singapore that brings benefits for all Singaporeans,” he added.

Another similar effort Iswaran announced during the speech included a Singapore Cyber Youth Program to expose secondary to tertiary level students to cybersecurity technical knowledge as well as soft skills to help them explore cybersecurity as their future careers.

Building a smart nation is one of Singapore’s top priorities in a bid to keep the city-state relevant in the digital age. Thus far, it has introduced a slew of initiatives, from setting aside state budget funds to facilitate digital transformation, to establishing SgInnovate to nurture deep tech startups, and providing matchmaking initiatives for startups based in Singapore.

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