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Majority of Singapore students want coding as a core subject: Microsoft study

Zafirah Salim | April 24, 2015
New research shows that most students in Singapore recognise the value of coding for future careers, but face relative lack of support and opportunities from parents and schools.

Microsoft's new study revealed that the majority of students in Singapore recognise the value of coding in their education and the potential it creates for their future careers.

However, the study also found that students feel relatively unsupported in their interest for coding, highlighting an urgent need for educators to look deeper at integrating it as a core subject in the school curriculum.

Conducted in February 2015 as part of the Microsoft YouthSpark #WeSpeakCode campaign, the study polled 1,850 students who are aged below 24 from across from across eight countries in Asia Pacific, including 250 students in Singapore. The study aimed to find out the students' sentiments towards coding or software programming, as well as the learning opportunities for coding that are currently available to them.

According to the study, 76 percent of students in Singapore want to know more about coding, while 66 percent wish that coding could be offered as a core subject in their schools.

The study also underscores the broad understanding among students in Singapore about the impact of technology on businesses and the society. In fact, 72 percent of students said that coding is important to their future careers, and 59 percent agree that coding will be relevant to all careers in the future, regardless of areas of specialisation.

In addition, 68 percent said that coding helps them to better understand the digital world that we live in today, and 59 percent appreciate the fact that coding can help them learn how to create apps.

"The results from the Microsoft survey clearly show that the majority of students in Singapore no longer question the value of coding. These youths fully recognise its importance in helping them acquire fundamental 21st century skills and prepare them for success in the future," said Nobuhiro Ito, Director for Developer Experience & Evangelism, Microsoft Singapore. "As our world continues its evolution into one that depends on technology more and more, it is important for educators in the region to shift their focus away from the question of whether or not to offer coding as a subject - and instead, work towards integrating coding into the curriculum as soon as possible."

Learning opportunities for coding

However, despite the widespread enthusiasm and interest in coding, only 45 percent of students in Singapore said they have an opportunity to learn coding in school, whether as a core subject or an extracurricular activity. This is one of the lowest figures among the countries surveyed. Furthermore, only 49 percent of students said that their parents think coding is important to their future. These findings indicate a severe disconnect between the students' interests and the support that they are receiving from schools and at home.

 

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