Computer science education to debut in schools next year

PUTRAJAYA: Computational thinking and computer science skills will be integrated into the primary and secondary school curriculum next year.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the move was to expose the young to digital technology and groom them to become “digital makers”.

“Computational thinking and computer science will be part of the Standard Curriculum for Primary Schools, or KSSR, and the Standard Curriculum for Secondary Schools (KSSM) from January next year.

“This effort will benefit about 1.2 million students from 10,173 schools nationwide.

“Computational thinking and computer science will be integrated into all subjects for primary schools in phases, starting with Year One in 2017, Year Two in 2018 and so on.

“Computer science will be offered to secondary schools, starting with Form One and Form Four next year,” said Najib at the launch of the #mydigitalmaker movement at Sekolah Sultan Alam Shah here yesterday.

To prepare schools for the integration, Najib said about 9,200 teachers were undergoing training overseen by the Education Ministry and the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

The curriculum was piloted in 24 schools last year and involved 660 students and 50 teachers.

“The Education Ministry and MDEC are working closely to prepare our educators for the new curriculum.

“Computational thinking and computer science is also being integrated into teacher training colleges and Institut Aminuddin Baki, which trains principals and headmasters.

“In future, all teachers graduating from teacher training colleges will be equipped with these skills,” he said.

Najib said the digital economy contributed 17% to Malaysia’s gross domestic product in 2014, and the number is expected to grow in the future.

“Computational thinking teaches students design thinking, logical reasoning and problem solving, all of which are valuable skills needed as the backbone of the digital economy.

“Teaching our children computational thinking and coding languages will give them a good foundation in preparing for future digital economy jobs.

“Last year, Malaysia recorded 88,107 jobs in computer science-related fields.

“I know of an animation student and a female data scientist in Penang who both earn more than RM25,000 a month.

“Gone are the days when parents would only want their kids to be doctors or lawyers or engineers. Today, parents should encourage their children to dream big and explore beyond the ordinary, and become pioneers and innovators,” he said.

Najib said Malaysia would be the first country in Asean to introduce computational thinking and computer science into its education system.

Also present at the event were Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid and MDEC chief executive officer Datuk Yasmin Mahmood.

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