Mozilla has partnered with charities Nesta and Nominet Trust to launch a programme that will aim to promote digital skills among children across the UK. The £225,000 Digital Makers fund and network will bring together organisations to support projects that target digital literacy for 4- to18-year-olds, the foundation has announced.
The initiative comes on the back of a YouGov study commissioned by Mozilla that found that most British children want to learn how to code. Three-fourths of children online in the UK between the ages of 8 and 15 are ‘very or fairly’ interested in learning how to build websites, games, or mobile apps. Meanwhile, 67 per cent of them professed an interest in learning programming. Of those children, three per cent said they already know how.
The study also surveyed parents of children under 18 online, revealing that two-thirds of them see the value of their children learning practical digital skills such as writing code and programming.
“Digital literacy is now an essential fourth pillar alongside reading, writing and mathematics. That's the driving force behind Mozilla's new Webmaker program, and why it's vital that we create a 'big tent' of organisations, educators and volunteers all coming together to teach these skills in new ways,” said Mozilla executive director Mark Surman.
“Digital technologies are ubiquitous; part of daily life. But we’re still not doing enough to use them smartly. By equipping children and young people with the necessary skills early on, we can help them not just to use and consume digital technologies but also to create them,” said Geoff Mulgan, chief executive at Nesta.
“The payoff for them will not only be more opportunities for learning and fun, but also more opportunities in a jobs market where these skills will be in ever greater demand,” he added.
Nesta and Nominet Trust have each contributed £100,000 towards the programme, with Mozilla adding an additional £25,000.
The Digital Makers fund is looking to collaborate with individuals and organisations who have an interest in furthering the digital education of British children, Mozilla said. Initial expressions of interest can be submitted until 17 January 2013, with grants awarded in March of next year. Visit Nesta’s website for more details about the programme.
Image Credit: Flickr (Lars Plougmann)