Junior Cert students will study coding
COMPUTER coding courses will begin in secondary schools this September as part of the revised junior cycle programme.
The Department of Education confirmed to the Herald that the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) subjects were being introduced as short courses.
They include programmes in coding and programming as well as digital media.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn's department also said that "work has begun on a new digital strategy for schools".
As part of the strategy, opportunities in curriculum reform are being examined.
Teachers and principals are currently being surveyed about the use of ICT in learning and teaching in schools throughout Ireland. The survey will finish shortly.
The department said that the new changes and strategy were not confined to secondary schools but to primary schools as well.
A spokeswoman also said that the changes were not only happening in the junior cycle.
"At senior cycle, the National Council for Curriculum is currently working on the revision of a significant number of Leaving Certificate subjects," she said.
She added that the integration of computer science subjects was a "major priority" for the Government, and their development was considered "critical".
Ireland's internet economy is set to more than double in value by 2020 to just over €21bn, with up to 79,000 new jobs to be added, according to a recent study by UPC.
However, while schools have the option of introducing coding, the two second-level teacher unions, ASTI and TUI, have banned their members from co-operating with it, and other proposed short courses, because of the dispute about Junior Cycle reform.
According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, there are currently 80,000 people employed in the areas of information and communication.
Top jobs for the future include IT project management at number one and software development and testing ranking in the top five.
Other short courses also being introduced next September are Chinese language and culture and artistic performance.