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Importance of Programming, Civics and Law in Middle School Curriculum

We are in the middle of a computer revolution when knowing how to use data instead of relying on data mined by foreign Big Tech companies is a key factor that separates the developed and underdeveloped world. Effectively mining, storing and analysing data requires expertise in various fields, out of which subjects like coding, history and civics, law and commerce have previously been ignored in middle school curriculum, compared to other subjects.

Majority of the highest paying jobs in the STEM subjects are known to require programming skills. Whether its genetic analysis using R, game development using C++ or financial data analysis using Python, programming languages are a useful tool for employees in any multinational company.

Civics and law also need to be a fundamental part of education today. Since the Second World War and introduction of nuclear warheads, violent conflicts between the top military powers have almost gone down to zero. What has increased however, is lawfare. Strategic meetings and heavily contested cases in the International Court of Justice ends up deciding conflicts between countries today. With the advent of modern computing and data mining, the importance of a competent legal framework is at an all-time high for any country. Nearly all of the top 50 law schools in the world are located in developed countries or countries where people of European descent are the majority of the population. Data analytics in various fields like finance, marketing and geopolitics require detailed knowledge of national as well as world history and also a deep understanding of the current legal and political frameworks in various countries of the world. Companies look for individuals who can combine these skills thereby making products that will sell in the market.

Most of the countries with a high PISA rank, offer coding as a part of their middle school curriculum. Coding at a young age is known to boost children’s communication, creative, problem solving and collaboration skills, which benefits them in almost any field they may choose in the future. With ever-increasing technological products, smartphones and social media like Facebook in the recent past, to virtual worlds, blockchain and cryptocurrency at present, it is extremely essential, especially for students in developing and underdeveloped countries to grow up with a deep understanding of digital technology as well as the generally ignored societal, legal and financial skills.

Huge gaps in digital literacy have been noticed in various studies among the various generations such as boomers, generation X and Y, to the extent of lacking the basic skills to monitor their child’s online interactions. To prevent the growing gap between the developed and underdeveloped world, its essential that generation Z and A, as well as the subsequent generations receive the education their parents lack so they can compete with anyone anywhere, reducing the risks of online crime and data theft by powerful conglomerates. Keeping children away from digital, legal and financial education would result in a future population that can be easily manipulated by technically advanced section of the population, thereby increasing the class gap. As almost in any other field, effective monitoring and implementation by competent authority is the best way forward instead of outright banning.

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