Obama: Every child must learn to code

Obama: Every child must learn to code

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama is seeking $4.1 billion to expand computer programming classes in every public school in the country, the White House said on Saturday.

The proposal, backed by technology firms including Apple, Google and Microsoft, will be included in Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget, to be released on Feb 9. Teaching basic coding to more grade-school children is necessary to expand the US economy, Obama said.

“In the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill — it’s a basic skill,” he said on Saturday in his weekly television and radio address. “I’ve got a plan to help make sure all our kids get an opportunity to learn computer science.”

The president’s “Computer Science For All" initiative would provide $4 billion to states and $100 million to school districts over three years, money that could be used to train teachers, expand course offerings and improve programmes that encourage girls and minorities to pursue technology careers.

The White House said technology companies had pledged to increase their own investments in computer-science education as part of the initiative.

“We are the country that has been at the forefront of the digital revolution,” said Megan Smith, Obama’s chief technology officer and a former Google executive, told reporters. “We want to continue that amazing American legacy on into the future.”

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