31 JAN 2018|
A global movement of computer programming for children named Hour-of-Code was introduced by the Myanmar STEM Education Association (MSEA) at the Practicing High School of Yangon University of Education in Kamayut township of Yangon on Tuesday.
It was a first for students of government schools in Myanmar.
The school, which is Myanmar’s largest, has 7200 students, of which 380 students joined the event, according to headmaster Dr Moe Thu.
“Actually, the curriculum for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is well known in developed countries’ classrooms. Computer programming is a part of STEM. That’s why I try to introduce this kind of special training for my students, even though we cannot have the whole curriculum for STEM,” she said.
She was inspired to make this training of computer programming for children when she attended a competition event of ASEAN students for STEM at Vietnam on last year, she said.
“I saw a lot of children from ASEAN countries being very familiar with STEM education but Myanmar’s children are not. In other countries, Hour-of-Code is taught through weekly or daily lessons at formal schools. But in Myanmar, I cannot make this kind of classroom schedule for students because it is not included in the official curriculum of the Government. So I tried a compromise by teaching computer programming for my students,” Dr Moe Thu said.
A teacher from MSEA, Ma Keemoe, said the children are very interested in coding but have language barrier.
“In international school, children speak English, so we don’t need to explain the coding vocabulary like ‘keep forward’ but for Burmese-speaking children, we need to explain. The rest of the training is okay because they are happy to learn,” she explained.
Hour-of-Code is not aimed for professional carrier but only for learning the logic of computer programming, the teachers said.
“It looks like playing a game for children but in fact it is computer programming. So, the children might familiarize with the logic of coding while they are playing. And the training needs only a very short time like one or two hours,” Ma Keemoe said.
According to headmaster Dr Moe Thu, the school will schedule STEM education sessions during the summer long holiday period.
Hour-of-Code is a Global Movement held in at least 180 countries to teach computer programming to the children and improve their creativity, logical and analytical skills. The event will undeniably have great social impact on STEM education in Myanmar, which possesses one of the least developed education systems, according to MSEA.