Should every child be learning how to program?
One government minister in the United Kingdom thinks so, and is calling programming the “grammar of the 21st century.” The minister, Ed Vaizey, ranks the importance of programming skills on par with that of the arts and humanities. (And this from the “culture” minister.)
From the Guardian story:
Vaizey stressed that the arts and humanities would always remain important, in part because they enabled people to talk to one another. But he said the ability to build an app was now seen by young people as a “sexy” thing to do, as well as being a useful way of contributing to the British economy.
Even with such praise, the number of students trying to become qualified in computers and information technology is actually dropping in the U.K., and there is no guarantee that programming will be made a requirement in the national curriculum.
The real question is whether programming will become a vital skill for everyone to know. Technology is certainly playing an increased role in people’s lives, and knowing the programming behind an iPhone app or website is valuable.
But is programming the new grammar? Or is it more like knowing how to work on cars? Even though many people use cars on a daily basis, they don’t necessarily need to understand how things work under the hood.