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June 10, 2014

In Finland, coding is more important than long division

Curriculum will kick out sums in favour of programming from 2016.

By Ben Sullivan

In 2016, coding and computer programming will replace long division in Finland`s national curriculum.

Whilst not a subject of its own, the new lessons will be integrated into other subjects for children aged 7-15 years old.

The shift is part of Finland’s ongoing digital transformation that is seeing the country celebrate its video gaming and coding culture, one which has brought platforms like the Linux kernel used on Android phones and mobile gaming company Rovio to international recognition.

But to aid teachers new to coding, a project dubbed Code 2016 has been started which uses an easy-to-understand guidebook to explain the basic principles of coding.

The initiative is spearheaded by Linda Liukas, renowned for raising over $300,000 in Kickstarter funding for writing childrens’ coding book called Hello Ruby. Liukas is also the co-founder of Rails Girls, a workshop for girls who want to learn how to code for the web.

Since 2010, the free Rails Girls events have expanded to the Shanghai, Singapore, Tallinn, Berlin and Krakow.

Liukas said: "I sucked at math when I was a kid, but I did love computers and building websites. I saw it has expressing myself and being more creative. I wish than more young girls would have these opportunities to do this."

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However, Finnish creator of Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds, has said in an interview with with Business Insider that coding is perhaps not for everyone to try.

Torvalds said: "I actually don’t believe that everybody should necessarily try to learn to code. I think it’s reasonably specialized, and nobody really expects most people to have to do it. It’s not like knowing how to read and write and do basic math."

When asked about how people can improve their relationship with technology, he replied: "For the people who need the advice, it’s probably a bit too late,"

England will also introduce coding into schools this September, changing the national curriculum to make it compulsory for all state primary and secondary schools to teach the subject.

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