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To DepEd: Add coding to basic education curriculum

VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – Then Valenzuela City Mayor Win Gatchalian inspects the computer laboratory in Malinta National High School after its inauguration in this July 2010 file image, as part of his administration’s city-wide IT education program for secondary students. Now a senator, Gatchalian is pushing further his advocacy by championing coding, “basically the computer language used to develop apps, websites and software,” as part of the school curriculum. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian on Monday said the Department of Education (DepEd) should consider adding coding to the basic education curriculum as he lauded the department for ensuring the full implementation of its inclusive literacy program.

“It is reassuring that the DepEd is focusing on enhancing the information and communication technology (ICT) literacy of students, teachers, and even school officials. However, as I see it, in order to produce digital-savvy graduates who will be equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in the modern world, we must start training our students in coding and other computer skills at an early age,” said Gatchalian, the vice-chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Digital literacy is defined as the capacity to evaluate, comprehend, and communicate information through digital or computer technology.

Noting that app development is currently a big hit, the lawmaker said that adding coding to the curriculum would allow students to learn cutting-edge skills which could be extremely marketable in their future careers.

“It is never too early to introduce computer science concepts to our school children. Mainam siguro na kinder o elementary pa lang ay sanayin na natin ang ating mga estudyante sa computer and information science,” Gatchalian said.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Brionies, during the 2018 National Literacy Conference and Awards (NLCA) held in Baguio City recently, said that the DepEd recognizes that “literacy has gone beyond being able to just read and write” and that the department is boosting inclusive literacy such as integrating ICT in the school system.

Gatchalian has previously called on DepEd to prioritize digital literacy programs in schools to produce digital-savvy graduates.

“I believe digital literacy can elevate the educational competencies of our students and economic competitiveness of our country, but the key is to start them young. We need to institutionalize advanced digital literacy training in our schools from an early age,” he said.