Coding prevails in Norwegian elections by Øystein Imsen, EU Codeweek Ambassador for Norway

 

 

The Norwegian code movement had its political breakthrough in the recent local election campaign. In the close race between the two largest block sin the capital Oslo, the labour candidate Raymond Johansen has promised to fund coding activities for four-graders. As part of raising awareness, Johansen shares some thoughts about coding and education.

 

You are the first politician in Norway to promote coding in schools. Do you have any experience with computing or programming yourself?

I regret that I don’t know much about coding or software development, but I would love to learn. I have been watching those who can, and I consider digital skills to be of utmost importance to the coming generation. This is about enabling children to be creators of technology, not just consumers.

Your profession is plumbing. As a plumber, would you say that coding has any relevance to you?

Coding has not been very important to my generation of plumbers, but digital tools is increasingly important to those who want to stay in the sector. It is useful to know something about how this technology works.

What kind of competences do you believe schools can improve through coding?

We are experiencing an IT-revolution, that somebody claims to be surpassed only by the industrial revolution. Most of us are connected to the internet through our phones, we have access to social media and millions of apps. It has never been more important for children in Oslo to learn how to master this technology. For those who want to be creative and make things with a computer, coding is one of the most important skills.

There is a close race between the political parties to win the election in Oslo, and you are close to winning. If you do, what will you do to improve schools in the
capital?

I want to hire more teachers, make sure there are less students per teacher – because competent and secure professionals in the classroom will increase the overall quality in schools. I will give the
pupils in elementary school a guarantee for competence in reading, writing and mathematics. I will reduce the high level of drop-out in upper secondary school by putting emphasize on early intervention, special education,  and individual follow-up. I want to strengthen the councelling service in school, increase the number of apprenticeship contracts, and build a closer cooperation
between school and  industry and business sector.

Great Britain, Finland and Estonia have already implemented coding and computing as a part of their curricula. Do you think the same can be done in Norway?

Yes. I would like to start with four-graders in Oslo, and offer them a five-weeks coding course, that would be a very good start.