‘CoderDojo an example to our schools’ – Minister for Education

18 Jul 2016

Minister for Education Richard Bruton, TD. Photo via Luke Maxwell

Minister for Education Richard Bruton, TD has called for the Irish education system to prioritise coding in primary schools, citing CoderDojo as an example to follow.

Richard Bruton is pinning his flag to the mast built up by CoderDojo in recent years, with the global initiative’s drive to teach coding to kids soon to be incorporated into the Irish education system.

That is if the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) agrees with the minister, who wrote a letter highlighting the benefits of coding to coincide with a fresh push on mathematics in primary school.


CoderDojo’s popular format

An early draft of the new maths curriculum is expected early next year, but ensuring coding features – therefore aiding kids to be best-equipped for a jobs market that is heavily technology-focused – is a priority for Bruton.

“I am acutely conscious that we need to give all children the best start in a world where such skills will be key to participation and success,” he said.

“The success of the CoderDojo project is a fantastic example of the benefits of teaching coding to young children. Hugely popular with children, it teaches creative problem-solving skills in a manner that engages and excites them.”

Industry involvement

While this is aimed at the primary education curriculum, calls have been made for coding to be featured further up the system.

Last February, Google’s Fionnuala Meehan suggested computer science and coding should be added to the Leaving Cert curriculum. “Everything we’ve learned has told us it is really important that every student in the country has access to these [coding] skills,” she said.

At Junior Cert level, moves are already underway, with certain schools trialling particular classes. However, getting coding into primary schools would prove the most beneficial as, given the pragmatic logic behind the subject, the earlier you learn the better.

Meanwhile, CoderDojo’s first-ever book, called CoderDojo: My First Website, is now available for pre-order. The book is designed to help children (or adults) learn the basics of web design, picking up skills like HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic