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Jimmy Wales fears nine years of computing will be too much for pupils

The founder of Wikipedia and internet pioneer Jimmy Wales has raised concerns over the length of time pupils will be expected to study computing in England’s schools.

As of this September, every child will be taught the new computing curriculum from the age of 5 to at least 14 under one of the key reforms to the national curriculum brought in under the coalition government.

The move was strongly supported by some of the biggest players in the industry, not least two of the world’s biggest companies in Google and Microsoft.

But Mr Wales, who is widely regarded as one of the internet's most pioneering entrepreneurs for founding Wikipedia, has questioned whether students should be expected to study computing almost throughout their compulsory school careers.

“I have some caution about how optional it is, particularly when you look at how many years [young people] will be expected to study it,” Mr Wales told TES. “Everyone should be exposed to it, and a little bit of programming can really ramp up your skill level, but that doesn’t mean you have to become a master programmer.”

He added that studying the subject for at least nine years was a long time.

Mr Wales was talking to TES ahead of a speech he will be giving to students next week as part of the Future of Innovation, Connectivity and Discovery Series with charity Speakers for Schools. The event will take place on 1 October from 2-3pm. 

To watch the speech live – and for details of more talks in the series – CLICK HERE.

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