Across the country, educators and students are celebrating the 4th Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), an annual event that aims to spark the interest of K-12 students in computer science and to raise awareness of the importance of computer science education.
Computational literacy is essential for individuals to fully participate and thrive in this digital age and computer programming jobs are among the fastest growing and highest paying in America. However, wide disparities exist when it comes to accessing computer science education opportunities, especially for women, African-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans.
According to Code.org, 90 percent of schools in the United States do not offer computer science classes and only 25 states count computer science toward a math or science credit for high school graduation. Additionally, less than 2.4 percent of college students graduate with a degree in the field.
In honor of CSEdWeek, CGI is sharing several examples of CGI America Commitments to Action that are tackling these challenges by supporting teachers, helping to deliver innovative curricula, and engaging and inspiring students from underrepresented groups.
Engaging Middle School Girls in Computer Science
In 2014, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and their partners made a commitment to increase the number of middle school girls engaged in and excited about computer science and information technology. NCWIT will scale up the AspireIT computing outreach program to serve an additional 10,000 middle school girls by 2018. AspireIT pairs alumnae of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program with nonprofit partners to create and run computing programs for middle school girls. Over the course of four years, NCWIT will lead a national effort to recruit and support over 600 qualified high school and college women and 250 partner organizations. Together, they will create and deliver computing outreach initiatives including after-school programs, summer camps, and weekend conferences, to engage new girls across the country in these critical subjects.
Preparing Students for careers of the Future
The College Board and The National Science Foundation made a 2013 commitment to create and implement a professional development program that will enable educators to teach Computer Science (CS) Principles, a new Advanced Placement Computer Science course. By 2017, this commitment will provide 5,000 teachers with the training and support they will need to prepare their students for success with the CS Principles exam. This process will help students develop the computational skills—the ability to create and apply computational approaches in problem solving—that will be essential for jobs of the future.
Putting Americans Back to Work