What policy makers should know about coding in non-formal contexts

Ariadna Rissola

EU institutions are becoming increasingly aware of the need to boost digital skills, including coding and programming skills.

Telecentre Europe, alongside Public Libraries 2020, recognises the effort to fill the job vacancies in the ICT field through teaching coding, but they also see coding as a tool for empowering all citizens in today’s society. Thus, they strongly believe that coding should have a broader audience and be accessible to everyone, including disadvantaged groups.

To achieve that objective, TE elaborated a position paper in which proposes the following recommendations to the European institutions:

The EC should review the focus of policy initiatives related to promoting coding: indeed, the current institutional approach in initiatives do not reach early school leavers, or those who are not performing well in school, or children and youngsters from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The EC should designate a consortium for the coordination of initiatives: these organisations would take a coordination role, leading and incentivising their members to implement activities on the grass root level; also, this consortium would be responsible for attracting more funding from industry to increase the number of local activities and their outreach.

The EC should encourage Member States to make links at national level with at least two EU-wide annual initiatives – Get Online Week and EU Code Week - to give more visibility and importance to coding and to showcase the work of national, regional or local organisations.

The EC should provide seed funding to incentivise organisations working with disadvantaged groups by designating funds from EU programmes.

Trainers in telecentres do not have a deep knowledge of coding technologies, so the European institutions should support or provide tools to promote their capacity building, in order to extend the impact of the activities in local communities, rural areas and disadvantaged groups.

You can read the full position paper here