Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday called on the Department of Education (DepEd) to include teaching code, also known as computer programming, in the K-12 program, especially in elementary schools.
Currently, computer programming is offered only as an option in senior high school, under the Information and Communications Technology strand of the Technical Vocational Track.
“Coding is now an essential skill due to the prevalence of computers in our daily lives. It should be treated like reading, writing, and arithmetic, not just as a career option,” said Pimentel.
Pimentel, who graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in B.S. Mathematics, said that coding is a way to introduce concepts such as logic and mathematics to children.
The Senate President said, “By teaching code, we can take advantage of childrens fascination with technology to help them learn mathematical concepts in a manner they find entertaining.”
Pimentel said, “Coding also teaches perseverance and problem-solving. In writing a computer program, you have to be adept at breaking down tasks into simple problems the computer could understand. You also need to be patient to identify and correct bugs in the code. These are life skills that would benefit anyone in any field.”
A former professor, Pimentel also sees teaching code as a way to help improve the performance of Philippine schools in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.
Pimentel said, “Teaching code in schools should not be difficult. We don’t need state-of-the-art computers to learn the basics. We can use open-source software such as Linux to keep costs down. Also, since many Filipinos own a smartphone and we now have the free wi-fi law, it is easy to download many apps that will help children learn more about programming.”
(Photo courtesy of Vibal Publishing)