By Morgane Taylor – Brussels office
28 July – Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes and Education Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou sent a letter urging Education Ministers across the EU to give children the opportunity to develop basic coding skills at school. Developing coding skills at an early age is seen by the European Commission as a great way to tackle high youth unemployment rates in Europe and could close the growing gap between skills and jobs in the ICT sector. The European Commission expects the ICT skills gap to reach 900.000 ICT practitioners by the end of 2020.
« Coding cannot just support studies in maths, science, technology and engineering. Coding will also directly help students to develop transversal skills such as analytical thinking, problem solving, team working, and creativity. Starting early means that they will be more inclined to consider computer science studies and ICT related careers, » the Commissioners said in their letter. This statement follows two other European Commission initiatives, the 2013 “Opening up Education” Communication to boost innovation and digital skills in schools and universities and the 2012 Rethinking Education strategy.
With this letter, the European Commission aims to promote the second ‘EU Code Week’ scheduled to take place from 11 until 17 October. This EU initiative will feature over 300 events involving more than 10 000 people in 26 European countries.