An exciting proposal to introduce information technology (IT) as a primary school subject is being considered by Lithuania’s education authorities this month. The proposal has been drawn up by Tech City Lithuania, an association of technology companies, in cooperation with Invest Lithuania and the Education Development Centre.
As part of the proposal, Tech City has written a detailed programme outlining how IT could be integrated into Lithuania’s primary schools. The programme proposes gradually introducing key elements of IT into the curriculum for pupils in grades 1 to 4. Children would learn how to create and edit text documents, write simple algorithms, safely search on the Internet and process other types of digital information.
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Tech City Lithuania has already taken the initiative in terms of teaching IT skills to older pupils, through its pioneering project IT KITAIP (IT DIFFERENTLY). The project, which has been running for a few years, enables 9-12 graders to participate in a series of 45 minute e-lessons provided remotely by IT specialists from various member companies of Tech City.
For Rokas Kondratas, Tech City’s manager, this initial project was just the start of a much wider mission to bring IT into the classrooms of Lithuania. “It is important not to stop and to keep working with schools by offering them special programmes enabling the integration of IT into the general education system.”
Paulius Vertelka, executive director of IT association INFOBALT, believes that these kinds of proposals are essential in order to keep Lithuania’s rapidly growing IT sector ahead of the competition. “As demand in the market for new, highly qualified IT specialists has been growing quickly in recent years, it is important to ensure that pupils are being given the complex skills and tools necessary for this profession. One of the most effective ways of encouraging young people to choose technology-related professions is to teach them the basic programming languages and the principles of information technology from an early age.”
A draft version of the primary school programme, along with proposals for updating the IT curriculum, will be presented to the education community by the Education Development Centre. Once accepted, the programme promises to create new opportunities for Lithuania’s pupils and provide new impetus for its IT industry.
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