Education secretary Michael Gove and chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne have today announced that 2014 will be the UK's Year of Code, the name given to a campaign - with government funding, no less - to encourage adoption of computer programming as a discipline for teachers and children.
Modelled loosely on the Hour of Code programme from the US, the Year of Code aims to raise awareness among children of the importance of understanding how to program computer systems ahead of the official introduction of programming into the school timetable in September.
'Computer coding is the
lingua franca of the global technology economy,
' claimed Rohan Silva, Year of Code chair, at the launch event. 'If the UK is to remain at the vanguard of innovation worldwide, we need to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the skills of the 21st century, not of the past. Year of Code is all about making sure this vital change takes place – and fast.
While the official Year of Code website
is aimed firmly at children - offering an introduction to programming in the form of learning to build a Moshi Monsters-themed Pong game - the government is looking to get educators involved too. As part of the programme, Osborne and Gove detailed £500,000 in matched funding which will be awarded to businesses willing to put their own cash up to fund projects to train teachers in computing and programming. UK businesses will be given the opportunity to bid for a portion of the fund later this month.
Meanwhile, the Year of Code programme itself is introduced in its official launch video, reproduced below.