Coding classes for kids have become the latest craze to sweep Beijing schools with children as young as six years old beginning to learn the basics of computer programming.
With the belief that there is a profitable future in programming languages, Chinese parents have reportedly been pushing their kids to learn how to code at a very young age, according to NBC.
The children, with an average age of 11 years old, also get the chance to tinker with robotics in their early years by building their own mini-creations.
The popularity of the “coding class” has seen a recent spike in enrollees at the Tarena Learning Center in Beijing, reaching a milestone of 4,000 enrollments this year compared to last year’s 50. The growing demand has caused the sudden establishments of the several new private schools and summer camps across the country.
The sudden interest in the subject is not just fueled by parents wanting their children to succeed in the future but also due to the growing nationwide concern that the country is being left behind in programming and innovation.
According to a 2011 survey of worldwide digital literacy, China remains far behind the world’s biggest economies with at least a dozen other countries, including the U.S., leading the advancing digital literacy rate.
According to Chinese State Council premier Li Keqiang, however, China is set to catch up:
“We’ve given top priority to innovation,” Li said.
The Chinese government has been, in fact, pushing for more scientific innovation in its bid to make China an “innovation powerhouse” by 2020. It has also began promoting internet startups and technology incubators at major universities with plans of shifting the economy from factories and toward software innovation.