The Swedish government announced the introduction of coding as a core subject. As of summer 2018, coding lessons will be taught in Sweden – from the first year in primary school. Sweden, as a leader in the tech industry, has acknowledged the need for change in the curriculum of its younglings. “We need more coders, and it’s a skill that will be needed in more jobs in the future. Moreover, we are all being affected by coding to a growing degree“, says Gustav Fridolin, the Swedish minister of education. Not only Sweden as a tech industry leader, but all countries must prepare now for a digital future.

How did the change in the curriculum come about?

In 2015, a group of well-known Swedish founders presented a startup manifesto to make Sweden the most startup-friendly country in the world. One of the pillars in the manifesto is education.

DIGITAL KNOWLEDGE
Swedish pupils must become digital “super users”. Prioritize knowledge for students and teachers on digital knowledge, programming and entrepreneurship in schools and leisure activities from preschool and up.
Startup Manifesto Sweden, 2015

Two years later, the Swedish government decided to implement one of the key elements of the Startup Manifesto. And only one year from now, in 2018, Swedish children will be coding in primary schools all over the country.

Where are we on digital education?

In January 2017, we presented Johann Schneider-Ammann with our Digital Manifesto for Switzerland. Together with 50 Digital Shapers we produced the first Digital Manifesto for Switzerland with the following pillars:

  • Infrastructure
  • Education
  • Research
  • Innovation
  • Business
  • Jobs and Welfare

The education section in our Digital Manifesto states:

Education and creativity are Switzerland’s raw materials. Children need to understand and learn the principles of the digital world, how to create and work with digital content, and how to behave responsibly in the digital world.
Digital Manifesto, January 2017

The following measures were proposed:

Digitization is something of an “intersectional” topic and can be introduced to the curriculum on an interdisciplinary basis, taking an application-oriented approach. IT and digital aspects should be integrated at all levels of education.
Digital Manifesto, January 2017

Lately, the Swiss curriculum “Lehrplan 21” added the course “Media & Informatics“. This is an important step forward. However, “Digital Intelligence” goes further. In order for children to find their way in the digital society of the future, the following topics need to be taught (found in Schweizer Monat, April 2017, “Why informatics belongs in schools”)

  • Digital Citizen Identity: Understand the digital world.
  • Screen Time Management: Balance the virtual and physical world.
  • Digital Footprint Management: Recognize the consequences of leaving online traces.
  • Cyber Bullying Management: Use digital media securely and responsibly.
  • Digital Empathy: Empathize with feelings of others in the digital sphere.
  • Critical Thinking: Distinguish between real and fake information.
  • Privacy Management: Use and secure private data.
  • Cyber Security Management: Secure data with passwords and protect against cyber attacks.

digitalswitzerland will soon launch another initiative addressing digital education for our next generation. Stay tuned and sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter.

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About Daniel Scherrer

Head of Comms @digitalswitzerland

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