The ACS call comes in response to the Budget in Reply speech by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who said that a Labor Government would introduce a suit of initiatives, including coding in schools, to promote a greater focus on STEM.
Welcoming the Labor announcement, ACS CEO Andrew Johnson said the evidence globally is compelling – “the jobs of the future will require core skills in computational thinking and coding. These are the new foundation skills for the students of today.”
Johnson said, however, that the timetable must be moved forward if Australia is to benefit from the growth in the digital economy.
“Together with the strong support for coding and STEM skills we are now seeing from the business community, the ACS believes we now have a powerful platform and alignment of views to take these initiatives forward immediately.”
Citing the example of the UK, Johnson said the Government there had worked collaboratively with the British Computer Society and the ICT industry to help train teachers who can then go on to teach coding.
“It is already happening over there and we and the business community stand ready to work with the political parties to get this underway in Australia, so we can start building a skilled digital workforce for the future.”
In welcoming Shorten’s announcement on STEM, Johnson said: “The ACS particularly welcomes initiatives to increase tertiary STEM study levels.
“We have long been flagging the issue around declining enrolments in the STEM disciplines, and we certainly welcome changes to encourage greater participation.