Programming education boom among Chinese youth: Good or bad?

Updated: Jan 16, 2019 People's Daily Online Print
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Coding and programming education have exploded amongst Chinese young students creating a large-scale market worth 3 to 4 billion yuan, according to an industry report, Guangming Daily reported on Dec. 25.

Chinese students started having access to computer knowledge since the 1980s. Over the past 30 years, programming has elevated into an element within compulsory education throughout the 12 grades.

Children’s programming language was designed to cultivate abstract and logical thinking and to improve their ability to solve problems, said Liu Xunkun who teaches information technology at a key middle school in Beijing.

Xia Lixin, vice president of Central China Normal University, believes that programming, as the core of the information era, has become a basic skill that can be compared to knowledge of English in our work or daily life.

Artificial intelligence has become an irresistible trend for future development. Thus, promoting programming education among youth is timely and contributes to the development of a comprehensive and exploratory education, said Xia.

More importance has been attached to programming education for the sake of an all-round development and better education opportunities. Furthermore, the booming programming training targeting young students also attracts investments with many related training institutions springing up to improve the performance of trainees in all kinds of entrance examinations.

By October 2018, the market size in China had hit 3 to 4 billion yuan, and was expected to expand by 10 times within 5 years, according to the latest industry development report.

In contrast to the upward developing trend, the project is also facing several difficulties, including how to evaluate trainers, assess teaching effects and develop effective causes.

Programming teachers for children requires not only professional proficiency but also basic teaching skills, Xia noted. In addition, it’s better to guide students hand in hand rather than via video.

It’s been not more than four years since the youth programming started to experience fast development in China, said Li Tianchi, co-founder of CodeMao Tech. Industry standards and supervision mechanisms are greatly needed now.

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