The number of students taking high school computer classes this school year has increased about 20 percent from last year, from 10,450 to 12,547, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday.
The increase of 2,097 students in enrollment in high school computer science classes is the largest since the launch of the Republican governor’s computer initiative in 2015, Hutchinson said during his weekly press conference in the conference room. of the governor.
The previous largest increase was 1,860 students, for a total of 8,044 in the 2018-2019 school year, according to the governor’s office.
In the first school year of the Governor’s initiative, the 2014-2015 school year, 1,104 students attended classes, and since then, the number of students attending classes has increased by more than 11,000. said Hutchinson, who signed a law in 2015 requiring all public schools to offer computer science.
The enrollment gap between men and women among computer science course students decreased by 2% from last year, with male enrollment totaling 70% and female enrollment totaling 30%, the report said. governor. “We still have a gap there and we want to keep building on that.”
The share of members of racial minority groups among all students taking computer courses is close to the share of members of minority groups in the general population of the state, but “we continue to emphasize the importance of ensuring that every student, every time they are in high school, has access to quality computer science lessons,” said Hutchinson. He said 750 eighth-graders were taking a high school-level computer course for credit.
Law 414 of 2021 will require a public high school student to earn credit in a high school computer science course approved by the state Department of Education before graduation. The requirement begins with the class entering ninth grade in the 2022-23 school year. A computer science unit can be obtained from grades 8 to 12.
The law requires the Department of Education, beginning in August 2022, to make available to all public schools high-quality digital content aligned with state board-approved computer science courses. The law will require every public school district to employ a computer science teacher in every high school starting in the 2023-2024 school year.
Hutchinson said Arkansas continues to lead the country with its computer science education program, which started with 20 certified computer teachers and now has nearly 600 certified computer teachers. He said this is leading to the growth of tech companies in Arkansas.
The number of students taking their initial computer science course has increased, as well as the number of students taking several computer sciences leading to an industry-recognized certification, said Ivy Pfeffer, deputy commissioner at the Ministry of Education. of State.
“The computing initiative is on a very sustainable path,” she said, and the state has seen growth at every grade level with the number of students taking computer classes.