Teaching children coding is a waste of time, the OECD’s education chief has said, as he predicts the skill will soon be obsolete.
Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, said that the skill is merely “a technique of our times” and will become irrelevant in the future.
“Five hundred years ago we might have thought about pen literacy,” Mr Schleicher said. “In a way coding is just one technique of our times. And I think it would be a bad mistake to have that tool become ingrained.
“You teach it to three-year-olds and by the time they graduate they will ask you ‘Remind me what was coding’. That tool will be outdated very soon.”
Comparing it to trigonometry, he said: “We are going to get into the same dilemma. I think is very important that we strike a better balance about those kinds of things.
“For example, I would be much more inclined to teach data science or computational thinking than to teach a very specific technique of today.”
It’s important to distinguish between teaching the concepts of something and the techniques. Boyle’s Law is important, being able to fiddle around with an ICE engine isn’t a skill someone born today is likely to need. No, not because electric, but because computerisation.
At which point not worth teaching the details of what’s not used to all, is it?