The importance of digital skills for both social inclusion and employability has been made a high priority by the Europpean Commission, hence several initiatives such as the EU Digital Agenda, the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs, the e-skills for Jobs campaign, the EU Code Week were promoted,in an attempt to stop the fact that the “ICT skill gap” which, “is growing to unacceptable level”, as reinforced in the “e-skills Manifesto” by Vice President Ansip.
Programming and computational thinking skills are becoming ever more important in our society and working life. The European Union estimates that by 2025 up to 900,000 new ICT professionals will be needed for the European job market, whereas, computer science skills are increasingly required in many different fields, not only in ICT jobs. Today, a growing number of MS are refocusing their ICT curricula on developing students’ computer programming and coding skills, and introducing the topic in national, regional or school curricula.
However, so far formal education has been using ICT to focus purely on computer literacy – teaching students, how to word-process, how to work a spreadsheet and how to surf the Internet. There is nowadays an ever growing need to teach the next generation computer science, ICT and digital literacy, thus going beyond the skills of how to use a computer, to teach young people how to code, how to create a program, how a computer works and how to make it work for them! As youth unemployment is a major issue all over Europe, mastering these skills is becoming critical to fill the huge gap created by the digital revolution.
The above are highly acknowledged by the 2015 EC Report “New priorities for EU cooperation ET 2020” that stresses that “knowing how to code is empowering. It allows you to understand the digital world we live in and to shape it. Basic coding skills are essential for accessing the jobs of tomorrow and today” and for achieving a better skills-match between education and the world of work. “Coding is seen as the red thread that runs through future professions”.