The next Mark Zuckerberg could hail from Tipperary thanks to a computer coding pilot programme being rolled out in three Tipperary schools this September.
Colaiste Mhuire in Thurles, Comeragh College Carric-on-Suir and Nenagh College, along with 16 other schools nationwide, are among the first schools in Ireland to benefit from the new Coding course after beating out stiff competition from 120 other applicants.
Teachers from each of the selected schools are currently taking part in training programmes run by Intel Ireland, Lero – The Irish Software Research Centre and Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT).
Additionally all schools taking part in the pilot project will also receive a donation of Galileo Gen 2 Boards and teacher kits provided by Intel Ireland. As part of the course students will learn coding language and Java Script.
Exploring coding is a new optional subject for the Junior Cycle student awards curriculum that will soon replace the junior certificate.
“These are very exciting times for Colaiste Mhuire Co-Ed. We have a very vibrant IT Department, five state of the art computer labs and have just invested €35,000 in IT Equipment. Recently our students have competed in the National Robotics Challenge, Formula One competition, Young Scientist and Scifest and many of our students are already coding in their computer class,” said Colaiste Mhuire principal Dennis Quinn.
“The school is delighted to have been chosen by the Department of Education and Skills to pioneer this innovative development as it affirmed the hard work of the I.T. Department and the recent investment by the school,” he added.
Earlier this month the head of Irish Operations for Google Ronan Harris labeled Ireland the “data capital of Europe” while Fionnuala Meehan, who leads most of Google's education outreach programmes, said it was “critical” that computer science and coding be added to the Leaving Certificate curriculum.
At present there is an estimated 700,000 job vacancies in ICT across Europe.