Sign In

Communications of the ACM


Establishing a Nationwide CS Curriculum in New Zealand High Schools


Credit: New Zealand Education Gazette

In 2011, computer science was introduced as a subject in New Zealand high schools with a similar standing to subjects like physics, as part of a new set of education standards under the umbrella term "digital technologies."2 Since then, at least 150 teachers have increased their skill sets in order to teach these unfamiliar topics, and thousands of students have passed courses in programming and computer science topics.

This rapid introduction of radically new material has not been easy; as well as having to train teachers and develop new teaching material, during the transition students had to prepare for assessments that no other students had done before, and teachers who embraced the changes often had to work with school leaders who had little understanding of what computer science involves.


CACM Administrator

The following letter was published in the Letters to the Editor of the April 2014 CACM (
--CACM Administrator

I keep reading about U.S. initiatives involving massively open online courses, or MOOCS, and computer science education in schools, as in Andrew McGettrick's Letter from the Chair of Education Board "Education, Always" (Feb. 2014) and Tim Bell's Viewpoint "Establishing a Nationwide CS Curriculum in New Zealand High Schools" (Feb. 2014). Here, I would like to point out the U.K. has had a distance-education universityThe Open University, founded 1971that has made ample use of appropriate technology and is well worth looking at if you want to benefit from a long-running, successful, high-quality system; for a condensed history of this so-called "University of the Air," see I would also like to point to England's more recent but equally successful campaign called "Computing At School" to introduce and scale out teaching computer science for all schoolchildren; see All can likewise share quite a bit of useful experience there, too.

Jon Crowcroft
Cambridge, England

Displaying 1 comment

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.

Computer Science Field Guide: Computer Graphics from Tim Bell.