U.S. President Barack Obama wants all American children to learn computer science. For his “Computer Science For All” initiative, Obama’s administration is expecting Congress to allocate more than $4 billion.
In his weekly address, President Obama called upon America to make computer science “a basic skill.” He will soon ask Congress for more than $4.2 billion to reboot computer science education programs. Obama considers computer science to be as important as the three “Rs.” Obama has a plan to help all American students to learn computer science at a very elementary level.
The “Computer Science For All” plan aims to reboot computer science education in public schools to better prepare kids for a future workforce, reported The Christian Science Monitor. While the Common Core is undoubtedly one of the highlights and best known education policies, the Obama administration has specifically singled out computer science. The stream is one of the most dependable lines of education that could ensure today’s American students get well-paying jobs in the near future when they become self-reliant adults, said the president.
“In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill – it’s a basic skill, right along with the three ‘Rs.’ Nine out of 10 parents want it taught at their children’s schools. I’ve got a plan to help make sure all our kids get an opportunity to learn computer science, especially girls and minorities.
“We have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future – which means not just being able to work with computers, but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy. Today’s auto mechanics aren’t just sliding under cars to change the oil; they’re working on machines that run on as many as 100 million lines of code. That’s 100 times more than the Space Shuttle.”
Obama will seek $4.2 billion in funding to expand computer science education in schools from Kindergarten to the 12th grade in his upcoming budget proposal to Congress, reported Yahoo!. The three-year initiative is meant to help train teachers with the foundations of computer science, equip classrooms with adequate hardware to teach the stream, and develop new class materials that would be simplified to help the young minds grasp the complex concepts at a very young age.
Obama added that only about a quarter of U.S. K-12 schools have “high-quality computer science with programming and coding.” Worryingly, 22 states do not allow computer science education to count toward a high school diploma. In other words, just 28 states even allow computer science to count toward the requirements for graduation. Last year, only 15 percent of high schools offered any Advanced Placement computer science courses, reported USA Today.
Realizing the bitter truth that America currently faces a growing shortage of qualified young adults for jobs that not only require computer programming skills, but even basic soft skills like computer literacy, Megan Smith, the White House’s chief technology adviser made a statement.
“It’s not just working with computers, but developing the computational thinking, and analytical coding skills. Closing that gap will require an ambitious, all-hands-on-deck effort.”
Obama rightly pointed out that many professions, including the so-called blue-collar jobs, aren’t just required to work with computers today, a large number of companies also expect their workers to possess at least some level of knowledge about programming them. The president cited some examples.
“Nurses are analyzing data and managing electronic health records. Machinists are writing computer programs. And workers of all kinds need to be able to figure out how to break a big problem into smaller pieces and identify the right steps to solve it.”
Three major Indian IT companies — Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro — have already joined President Obama’s “Computer Science For All” initiative, reported Times of India.
[Photo by Chris Ryan/Compassionate Eye Foundation/Getty Images]