We just caught some news from Ubuntu Life about a new program in Estonia deigned to bring computer programming to schoolchildren as young as first grade. The program, called ProgeTiiger (programming tiger) aims to hit all schoolchildren between first and 12th grade with a basic understanding of computer programming, and knowledge of how to create their own web and mobile applications.
Primary school teachers are starting this September to get trained to teach the program, but the program won't hit 100% of all Estonian schoolchildren just yet. At first a few pilot schools will start using the course, and later every school who is interested to join can apply. All teaching materials are prepared by ProgeTiiger.
The program is supported by local IT companies, who stand to gain from having a well educated workforce to draw from 12 years from now. The programming courses will be taught in classrooms by regular teachers, so the course work has been made very simple to understand and teach.
Maybe I'm just brainwashed by the startup world, but the program seems like a logical addition to the math and science classes already offered in every school. It's hard to go a waking hour without staring at a screen these days, so it's important to breed a new generation that understand the mechanics of building their own web and mobile applications so they can build their own solutions to problems.
Estonia has put more than just words behind their e-estonia initiative. The country is very wired and is spitting out some really innovative companies (take a look at our startup competition voting, for example). ProgeTiiger is another way Estonia is doubling down on the IT sector, but it looks like a safe bet.
The press release can be found here (in Estonian)