Abbotsford school district likely one of few ready for computer coding courses

New curriculum set to start in September aims to teach programming skills to students

According to the NDP

According to the NDP

Abbotsford may be one of only a few school districts in the province ready to implement a new computer coding curriculum.

Two-thirds of B.C.’s school districts and 70 per cent of schools are not ready to implement the new courses, according to a Ministry of Education survey sent to superintendents in March. Many schools lack appropriate technology, teacher training or both, according to NDP education critic Rob Fleming.

It is not clear if Abbotsford’s superintendent Kevin Godden was one of the approximately 50 per cent of superintendents who responded to the survey.

Godden was not available to comment on this story but district spokesperson Dave Stephen said Abbotsford is well-positioned to implement the new curriculum.

“Abbotsford school district has been a leader in the province in terms of its implementation and use of technology throughout the district,” he said, in an email. “In fact, a complete upgrade of computer equipment is taking place in schools over the summer to ensure new hardware is available to students and teachers when they return.”

David Johnson, a former vice-chair of William A. Fraser Middle School’s parent advisory council, said he feels schools are generally underfunded in B.C.

He said he was not fully aware of how ready Fraser Middle is for the new courses but hopes his children, who attend both middle and high schools in the district, have the opportunity to learn coding.

“Any kind of skills that can make a child employable or give them experience in something to see whether that’s something they want to pursue – whether they choose to pursue it or not – I think it’s good that they experience that at a school level,” said Johnson.

In January, Premier Christy Clark announced plans to provide coding classes to B.C. students starting this fall, but Fleming said the plan did not come with the appropriate funds to make it happen.

“The goal to teach coding and make mathematics more interesting to students is a laudable one,” said Fleming.

“We want to put significantly greater resources into public education.”