Best Argument: Yes
Audience Favored: Yes (80%)
Education evolves to cater to changing social needs
Information technology is an area often ignored in schools, and lessons are limited to repeating the same instruction in touch-typing and how to use Microsoft Word and Powerpoint. Although these basic skills are often required in workplaces now heavily dependent on digital systems, there's no denying that the younger generation is often more tech-savvy than their predecessors -- and by the time they enter high school, have already mastered these programs and others besides.
The real questions are: Do schools have the resources to teach children computing more suited to social needs, and will children see the value in learning code?
In order to prepare students for a more competitive workplace, coding should become part of school curriculums, perhaps not compulsory for those who have no technological aptitude, but at the least as an option. We must place more emphasis on IT, and teach children not only the how but also the why.
Why should programming get special treatment?
When this debate came up, I really wanted to argue the "no" position. For one thing, there seems to be almost universal positivity for this idea, and it's usually fun to play the foil to things that are "obvious".
The second reasons is that I have two very young children myself, and although I'm keen for them to understand and enjoy science and engineering, I find myself unkeen to automatically think "Hey, I can turn these two into programmers!"
I myself started writing code when I was eight years old. The home computer I had didn't have any games available so I used to while away the time writing little database apps. In hindsight what I was doing was aping my dad, a first generation computer consultant.
What concerns me about this approach is two-fold, Firstly, why should programming get special treatment? Why not teach kids how to read mass spectrograph output? Or how to calculate stresses on a suspension bridge?
Secondly, is it elitist? We don't all have minds that can think around software structures. Some of us have minds that are better at writing poetry, or understanding softer structures like psychology and economics. Are we doing them a disservice by making programming something special?