Code NL aims to make computer education a priority

 

Group hosts monthly programming lectures and lobbies for better programming classes

Code NL is a provincial non-profit that says computer programming is the new literacy—except that they believe the province’s classes are lacking. James Flynn, founder of the group, launched a petition last year to convey the need for improved computer programming education and from that, Code NL was founded.

The group has three objectives: holding regular speaker events, lobbying the provincial government to improve computer programming education, and create awareness of opportunities in technology through outreach and partnership.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are no incremental courses for computer programming in the junior high and high school curriculum. However, Flynn compares this to Ontario, where the programs have a logical sequence that prepares for real-world programming, as well as post-secondary studies. Flynn points to some countries that have made computer programming mandatory in primary and secondary schools, such as England—which was the first country to do so.

Compared to these other jurisdictions, our province offers very minimal training in computing,” said Flynn.

To raise awareness of the importance of computer programming education, Code NL organizes a talk series at MUN.

We try to hold talks as often as possible. So far, we’ve held five talks featuring members of the local technology community,” said Flynn. “We’ve also held a panel discussion on open data in Newfoundland and Labrador, featuring Dave Lane, the St. John’s City Councillor, and Victoria Woodworth-Lynas, the Director of Access to Information and Protection of Privacy with the Office of Public Engagement.”

Flynn says now is a time to invest in this resource, especially with the volatility of the oil markets.

The recent budgetary crisis caused by plummeting oil prices illustrates the need for Newfoundland and Labrador to diversify its economy away from natural resources,” said Flynn.

I am a firm believer that improving computing education will give our province’s children the skills they need to compete in the globalized knowledge economy of the twenty-first century.”

You can learn more about Code NL on their website—codenl.org.