SA Labor to invest AU$6.7m to teach primary school kids coding

Jay Weatherill's Labor government has said it will invest almost AU$7 million to better prepare the state's school children for technology-related jobs if it is re-elected next month.
Written by Jonathan Chadwick, Contributor

South Australia's Labor government will invest AU$6.7 million to teach the state's children to code if the party is re-elected next month, it has announced.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the state's 114,000 public primary school students will receive lessons on computing in order to prepare them for the technology-focused jobs of the future.

"Learning coding empowers students to be able to understand the technology shaping our world," Weatherill told reporters on Monday.

Last month, South Australian Labor also promised laptops for each Year 10 student in the state, an initiative that would cost the state AU$70 million over five years.

Trials are set for this year, with deployment to take place in 2019. All students in the last three years of high school in the state are to have their laptops by 2021, and they will be able to keep the laptop after they leave high school.

Weatherill also revealed that his government would upgrade the broadband to all public schools and preschools in the state.

"This program will help students to achieve their best, while developing the digital skills and knowledge critical to pursuing future job opportunities. Coupled with a major upgrade to broadband speeds, public school students are being set up to succeed in a world where online learning and literacy has become critical to education," he said.

South Australia heads to the polls on March 17.


Also announced on Monday, Victoria's Minister for Trade and Investment Philip Dalidakis will meet with representatives from Europe's defence, tech, and infrastructure sectors in the UK and France this week in an effort to encourage more overseas investment in the state and showcase "capabilities in digital technology, cybersecurity, and defence".

"By connecting Victoria's industries with leading innovators in Europe, we're helping boost exports, strengthen the local economy, and crate jobs," Dalidakis said. "Victoria offers foreign companies a gateway into Asia and more international companies are developing a presence in our great state."

Dalidakis will explore trade and investment opportunities on behalf of the Andrews Labour government, including discussions with key stakeholders and government figures in the UK, before travelling to the Centre-Loire Valley to discuss R&D opportunities with the French defence industry.

The state government said it will encourage the UK to choose the Bendigo-manufactured Bushmaster military vehicle as an addition to its defence force. It will also meet with Octopus Investments, a British venture capital and private equity firm that recently opened an office in Melbourne.

The state government said it is also hoping to lure some of the world's most innovative defence companies to Fishermans Bend, an area 5km out of Melbourne's CBD where the next generation of Australian Defence Force's combat reconnaissance vehicles are set to be manufactured.

With AAP

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