An new curriculum in Estonia will teach students to code, starting at age seven. A few days ago, a government-backed education program called ProgeTiiger announced that it would start teaching programming to students in a small set of schools this year, before hopefully expanding across the country. Coordinator Ave Lauringson tells Forbes that the curriculum is built to ease children into seeing "an opportunity to create something" with computers. For novices, it will teach the logic behind coding, something that can also be used in mathematics and robotics, before moving into writing programs. And for IT companies like the one that's advising ProgeTiiger, it's a way to shape the skill set of future graduates.
Lauringson isn't the only one trying to make coding a fundamental part of education. Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton has been outspoken about the need to teach better computer skills to children, and the US has come under fire for allowing students to fall behind in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. But Lauringson says Estonia's small size allows it to act as an incubator of new ideas. Other countries, she says, "want to start programming in secondary school, but they don’t dare to start in the first grade."