Beginning this fall, French primary school students will have the option of learning computer science
The French are known for lots of things, such as their love of good food, fine wine and great art. It appears now that, if the government has its way, the French will soon also be known for something else: their computer programming prowess.
France’s Minister of National Education, Benoît Hamon, said in a recent interview with Le Journal du Dimanche that programming courses will be offered to primary school students starting this fall. The courses, which will be optional and offered during extracurricular time, will teach students programming basics and how to create simple applications. Hamon also expressed a desire that programming be offered at the secondary school level. The goal, he said, is to give French students the keys to thrive in a connected world and to encourage them go into technical vocations.
Some questions as to how this will work remain to be answered. For example, who will teach the courses? Hamon suggested that some, like math teachers, will be more naturally inclined than others. He also said that 9,000 French schools that currently do not have broadband access will have it by September. Also, Hamon gave no specifics about the actual curriculum, like what languages would be taught.
France is just the latest in a line of countries that are encouraging or even requiring that students as young as those in elementary school learn programming. Here are some examples of other countries that have already implemented or will soon implement such programs.