A few months ago I floated the idea that there should be a Premier’s Coding Challenge, just as there is a Premier’s Reading Challenge and a Premier’s Sporting Challenge. There was a lot of positive feedback about the concept, but no real sense of how to make it more than a thought-bubble. So it seemed that a good starting point might be to actually contact the Premier about it – might as well start at the top. So this is the letter I sent to Premier Berejiklian.
Dear Premier Berejiklian,
PREMIER’S CODING CHALLENGE
I am writing to encourage you to consider creating a Premier’s Coding Challenge.
The Premier’s Reading Challenge and the Premier’s Sporting Challenge are wonderful initiatives that have positively impacted many thousands of schoolchildren. With the current, very necessary, interest in coding (computer programming) as part of the required skills for our children’s’ futures it would seem to be both timely and important to create a Premier’s Coding Challenge.
The aim of a Premier’s Coding Challenge would be to encourage children to try coding and to learn to code. There are a number of curriculum-aligned local initiatives that could be easily be used to provide a structure for such activities so this would not require extensive development or investment beyond some organsiation and marketing. The returns, however, would be significant: not least of which would be the validation of coding as something more than a marginal or ‘geeky’ activity – but as something on a par with reading and sport.
The nature of the activity means there would be a great deal of enthusiasm among children, parents, and – assuming the activity aligns with the curriculum – teachers.
A Premier’s Coding Challenge would firmly place NSW at the forefront of a wave that is sweeping education and help give all NSW children basic skills that are going to be a requirement for living in the 21st Century.
(Completely as an aside, I can’t for the life of me find a picture of the Premier with a computer or electronic device – so I’ve used one from her website because if you squint you could believe the whiteboards they are using are tablet computers.)