Education Ministry "looking seriously" at starting computer programming in schools

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat is looking "quite seriously'' at introducing computer programming in schools to prepare people for the new technological age.

The Education Ministry has started some "experiments" in schools, through working with their computer clubs, he added.

It is also studying school systems that have embarked on the path.

The aim is not to make everyone a "programming geek", said Mr Heng, but to help people understand the "basic logic" behind the technological advances shaping the world.

Mr Heng was speaking at a conference about the differences that define Singapore society, when he was asked a question about whether the Education Ministry would consider introducing more "unconventional" subjects in school to help people harness the advances in technology.

Earlier, in reply to another question, Mr Heng spoke about how jobs were being transformed in many sectors as a result of technological developments. As a result, some skills no longer command the premiums they used to, he added.

The effect of these developments in widening divisions in society will only acccelerate, he said. How well Singapore performs in future depends on how well the country rides this wave, he said.

"Whether this automation is desirable...may not be within our ability to choose," he said. "I'm looking at what is it we can do to prepare our people better for this IT age."