Virgin Media has welcomed the Government’s commitment to introduce Coding in primary schools from 2018 as part of the Action Plan for Education

Virgin Media said there is a strong interest among the general public for coding in schools and re-issued the findings of research, undertaken in 2015 among 1,000 people, conducted for Virgin Media by Amárach Research.

Next week (Wednesday 21st) Virgin Media will also launch a new Digital Insights Report for Ireland*, one of the key points of which will include a need for Irish businesses to gear up digitally for the future. If that is the case, then a cohort of digitally qualified young people and graduates will be essential to ensure Ireland’s economic success in the future and the Government’s action with regard to coding is therefore a very welcome development, the company stated.

The April 2015 research commissioned by Virgin Media showed:

· 54% of people believe computer coding should be introduced to the school curriculum at primary and secondary levels.

· The optimum age for children should learn to code was identified as 9 -10 years old. In fact of the 1000 participants surveyed, 70% of people said coding should be introduced to children at some stage between ages 6 -12.

· Just under half of all those surveyed said they had a good or very good understanding of what ‘coding’ is, and this was highest among 16 – 24 year olds. However the older demographic (55+) were less sure with some 70% having a poor or uncertain understanding of coding.

· 57% of the respondents said they have a good or very good understanding of what a programmer does.

· More than 4 out of 5 people recognised Java as a computer language, followed closely by JavaScript. About a quarter of those surveyed recognised computer programming languages like C++ or SQL, with awareness dropping when ‘C’, Python, PHP, C#, Ruby and Objective C languages were referenced.

· Only 1 in 10 did not recognise the name of any programming language. Awareness was highest amongst the younger age groups, particularly those between 25 and 34.

‘Coding’ is what people do to create computer software, apps and websites. It underpins browsers, your operating system, apps on your phone and all kinds of social media, and how these operate with online and other technological systems..

A previous survey conducted for Virgin Media in 2014 indicated that the public generally consider computer coding to be just as important as maths, science and languages – including Irish. 2 in 3 respondents said that learning computer code is as important as learning mainstream subjects including Business, Geography, Music, History, Art, Irish, Science, Languages, Maths and English. 1 in 3 said coding is ‘more important’ than Irish, and 1 in 5 said coding is ‘more important’ than maths.

Virgin Media together with parent company, Liberty Global is a committed supporter of the CoderDojo movement, where children learn coding skills.

Anna-Maria Barry, a Virgin Media staff volunteer who helps run CoderDojo clubs and is Corporate Communications General Manager for Virgin Media said, “Our study into the importance of computer coding for young people showed that there is a significant appetite for the formal introduction of computer coding into the school curriculum for primary and secondary education. While there were varying opinions at what age a child should begin to learn to code, it’s evident that the majority of people believe it should happen before children reach their teenage years.”

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