MANILA - The Department of Information and Communications Technology wants robotics and computer programming to be included in the elementary school curriculum.
At the opening of the Singapore-based robotics learning center Nullspace in Taguig, DICT Assitant Secretary Jeffrey Dy said there is a need to incorporate new technology classes in the curriculum for children. He said the Philippines needs to keep up as demand for robotics and computer programming skills is expected to grow.
“Coding at robotics are the foundation of everything we do. AI, for example, hot na hot ngayon yan,” Dy said.
He added children as young as 9 years old should be made aware of and interested in these areas so that the Philippines can have more technology professionals.
Nullspace Robotics PH head Bennieson Co agreed saying children now need to be equipped with new skills for the future. Robotics and computer programming are no longer just for adults, and kids will be more interested in them, he said.
“It’s a form of learning that will excite them but the knowledge itself can be applied in many different forms,” said Co.
Co, who also owns a Business Process Outsourcing company, said there is also a shortage of highly skilled workers today particularly those with developer skills.
“It’s a shortage, I think globally. Here in the Philippines the same. It will take you 2-3 months to hire one dev. So companies are struggling in terms of hiring these talents,” he said.
DICT said that it is in talks with the Department of Education, but because of budget constraints, it is now looking for partners in the local government and private sector.
Valenzuela City is among its first LGU partners with the city set to launch a free robotics summer boot camp. Mayor Wes Gatchalian said, “They’re aware of Minecraft, they’re aware of Lego, but di nila alam there’s such a program like coding.” He said the city will buy kits to be used in the robotics classes and he hopes children will be more interested in such programs.
Nullspace will offer initially two programs- one is its Minecraft Series and the other, Lego Robotics. There will be a fee at the Taguig branch, but it also plans to partner with LGUs so the classes may be availed for free.