More than a third of Irish people believe that learning computer coding is ‘more important’ than learning Irish, a new survey has found.
Research commissioned by UPC Ireland also found that one in five people believed coding was more important than maths.
In the research, carried out among 1,000 people (adults) by Amarach Research, two-thirds of respondents said that learning computer code is equally as important as learning mainstream subjects including Business, Geography, Music, History, Art, Irish, Science, Languages, Maths and English.
Even though there is a strongly positive sentiment towards learning coding, just under one in five people said they are aware of the CoderDojo initiative (where increasing numbers of children nationwide are taking part in coding clubs or ‘dojos’ run by local volunteers).
However, three in four people said that they would send their child to learn computer coding, assuming groups and facilities were available in their area.
Among those who are aware of the CoderDojo initiative, higher levels of awareness were found in Leinster (including Dublin), followed by Munster and Connacht / Ulster, with a somewhat higher number of men also indicating they are aware of the initiative than women (20% v 14%).
UPC, in partnership with CoderDojo, last week announced that they will create 10 new CoderDojos across Ireland over the next 12 months.
Staff volunteers have been supporting a new CoderDojo near the company’s head office in Sandymount in Dublin which has proven highly popular with over 50 local children now regularly attending, some as young as 6 years of age.
A number of the older children are now also mentoring their friends in ‘Scratch’ (a learning resource for coding).
Corporate communications general manager for UPC Ireland Anna-Maria Barry said :"The research findings are positive but they indicate there is some way to go to promote the availability and participation in coding and digital skills among parents and young people nationwide.
"Our goal is to enable CoderDojo to reach more and more young people, giving them the opportunity to learn coding skills that will help them become the next generation of creators and innovators.
"It’s also important for children to have fun while they learn and this is exactly what CoderDojo is achieving.
"Many children come to our local CoderDojo in the afternoon after they’ve already enjoyed sports, so it’s a winning combination where they can also exercise their minds with a digital skill set that will undoubtedly contribute to their lives for the future."