A city in eastern Japan will open a programming school to help children develop their computer skills

OTA, Gunma – This city in eastern Japan will open a programming school for elementary school students in grades three to six with the aim of developing human resources who can solve various problems by making full use of computing.

A total of 48 students who pass the selection process at the end of the trial classes, which will take place six times in May (each time with a maximum of 24 students), will be admitted to the Ota Programming School in Ota, Gunma prefecture.

The programming was made compulsory under the curriculum guidelines of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Jun Hashimoto, sub-section chief of the information management division of Ota municipal government, said he hopes the new school “will serve as a place for children who have developed an interest in programming at continuation of lessons in primary school”.

The school will offer “Course I” every Tuesday from June 7 to February 21, 2023, and every Thursday from June 9 to March 2, 2023, (both outside the summer vacation period), with 30 lessons each in a seminar room in the town hall of Ota.

A private IT support company will join the program and students will learn basic and advanced skills through “Scratch” programming learning software and robots made with Lego blocks. The tuition fee is 30,000 yen (about $230) per year.

In addition, although details have yet to be finalized, a “quick learn course” will be offered to fifth and sixth graders, with classes lasting around six months.

According to the city, trial class participants were recruited online for a two-week period, but the school was so popular it reached capacity in six days.

Twenty-four children attended the first trial lesson held at City Hall on May 10, where they worked avidly on computers.

A third-grade boy said, “I didn’t learn about this in (my school) class, but I like Scratch because I use it every day. In the future, I want to become a YouTuber and assemble various machines and share with viewers.”

Her father, 35, who works in the advanced security technology division of an automotive company, said: “I want to help her keep up with the trend of the times when computing is used at will.

(Japanese original by Jo Kamiuse, Ota Local Bureau)

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