Japanese Schools to Adopt Computer Programming Education

November 11, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. integrate / ˈɪn tɪˌgreɪt / (v.) – to add something into something else
Example: They integrated several modern theories in the revised science book. 

2. in the long run / ɪn ðəˈlɔŋ rʌn / (idiom) – over a period of time
Example: Make sure to take all your classes seriously because they will help you in the long run

3. adept / əˈdɛpt / (adj.) – skilled in something
Example: I want to be adept at using programs like Photoshop. 

4. technical / ˈtɛk nɪ kəl / (adj.) – relating to a specific field, such as science
Example: The technical words mentioned in the sci-fi film were difficult to understand.  

5. hone / hoʊn / (v.) – to sharpen a skill
Example: I feel the need to hone my public speaking skills.


Read the text below.
Teaching computer programming, or the creation of software programs, will become mandatory in Japanese schools by 2020.

Before its official implementation, Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry will be selecting a few primary, middle, and high schools where computer programming will be offered as a trial course. Programming lessons will take place after school hours or during weekends. 

In the lessons, students will be using a robot as a tool for creating programs. Robots will come in different forms, such as the puppet-type robot to be used in a Tokushima Prefecture primary school, and the 3D-printed robot in a Yamaguchi primary school.

Primary schools will incorporate programming in major subjects like science. On the other hand, the course will be integrated into minor subjects like industrial arts for middle schools. Proponents of the move believe that familiarizing children with programming will give them an advantage in the long run.

Students will have the chance to contribute to the Information Technology industry once they become adept at programming. Upon graduation, they will have the competence to develop smartphone software and other innovations such as programs for energy-saving appliances and railway traffic control. 

Apart from developing technical skills, students who learn programming can also hone their creativity and logical thinking. According to Kazuhiro Abe, a visiting professor at the Aoyama Gakuin University, the programming process entails coming up with the best answer to a problem that does not have a specific solution.

Abe believes that teachers of the course should let children work on their own, adding that the students can figure things out easily once they are allowed to express themselves more freely.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that computer programming education should be required? Why or why not? 
·         What possible challenges can the initiative face? Discuss.

Discussion B

·         If you were an education expert, what other subjects would you require to be taught in schools? Why? 
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of learning a skill at an early age? Explain. 

November 11, 2016