Estonia is one little Eastern European country that could, particularly where tech is concerned. Estonian engineers are well-known in the tech field, and uniquely Estonian skills have been used to build countless startups, the most notable of course being Skype
And now, Estonia might go down in history as one of the most academically ambitious countries ever if it manages to pull off its latest goal: Teaching code to six-year-olds.
Starting this school year, Estonian students in grades 1 through 12 will begin a pilot program called "ProgeTiiger
," which will introduce students to "computer programming and creating web and mobile applications." The first stage of the program involves what essentially amounts to teaching basic coding to first-graders. From there, the program expands to "hobby groups" for middle school students, and then select courses for high school.
The program was formed because "many companies struggle to find decent programmers."
What's interesting here is that in the comment section of the article linked above, some people say they took similar programming classes in countries like France and Spain back in the 1980s, when they were around age 7. So, perhaps other European countries might have been Estonia to the punch, but one thing is different this time around: The rise of mobile technology.
Imagine basic computer programming skills being as commonplace in a first grade curriculum as reading skills or math skills. Would you support a school curriculum in America that taught basic computer programming to first graders?