With the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) at our doorstep and South Africa still a developing country in many respects, government has placed an importance on early childhood development, as well as giving the youth technology skills to help them secure a career in the future.

As reported by the World Economic Forum in their 2018 Future of Jobs report (PDF), by 2022 half the jobs we are doing now will be automated and replaced by careers that don’t yet exist.

With that in mind, head of academics at ADvTECH, John Luis, explains the importance of parents preparing children for a technologically enabled future by starting to teach them coding at an early age. If they are able to adapt, be agile-minded and prepared for the future working world, it could certainly help the country, he points out.

“The 4IR should not be dismissed as a buzzword, it is real, and it is here where our lives will become intertwined with technology, the edges between reality and the virtual world will blur and we need to ensure our children will be effective workers in this rapidly changing environment,” explains Luis.

The ADvTECH head says that as we teach children how to read and speak our mother tongue, and we should also start coding at an early age, with the easiest way of starting children off being to downloading coding apps that will use games to kick-start the coding process.

“Learning to code is like learning how to speak, read and write in a different language. Children are very good after learning how to speak, read and write in a different language. Children are very good at learning a variety of languages from a young age so teaching them coding will be no different,” adds Luis.

Furthermore he notes that in the future world of work, coding will be a fundamental digital skill which children will need to be literate in it as much as language, numeracy and physical skills, as coding is no longer a skill reserved for scientists, engineers or IT geeks.

“Like mathematics, becoming competent in the language of coding has many advantages beyond the obvious. Behind this technology, functionality is achieved using code, it is how we communicate with computers, build websites, mobile apps, computer games and instruct robots,” he says.

According to Luis parents should realise that academic excellence and individual competitiveness in the future will require a solid grasp of the language of technology, so parents should enrol their children in schools that offer coding in their curriculum. If the school doesn’t yet offer coding they should look for available options such as holiday camps in the area they live in.

“If the parent does not yet have the option of enrolling their child in a school that incorporates coding as part of the mainstream offering, which is the reality for the majority of the country, they should ensure that their child isn’t left behind by assisting them independently,” concludes Luis.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]