We are very concerned about the South African Department of Basic Education's plans to introduce a curriculum that introduces CODING (computer programming) and ROBOTICS (computer operated mechanisms) as compulsory activities for children, from Grade R.
While information technology is extremely useful and essential, for today and for our future, children do not benefit from "the earlier you start, the better". Rather than modelling their thinking as per how things are done today, they should develop the creativity they will need to face tomorrow's challenges.
- What young children need is free, reality-based development of their thinking. - Earlier ICT learning is neither helping the children with their normal curriculum, nor necessary for becoming a skilled computer user as an adult. - It is essential to reduce children's screen time, rather than adding screen hours at school. - Children need real activities for their development, not a virtual lack of reality.
Many parents in Silicon Valley, including leading IT innovators, keep technology away from their young children. Many software developers do not want their children to be taught coding. Hearing it from these experts should warn us against unwise decisions!
For further information about the negative effects on children, see http://www.cfce.org.za/cfce/index.php/current-issues/say-no-to-coding-and-robotics-main