defined as knowledge and competencies about computational structures,
processes, artifacts, and systems.
Digital literacy was seen as basic user
skills, such as conversancy with standard tools like word processors, Web
browsers, spreadsheets, and so on.
While the report confirmed that,
across Europe, there was a growing re-
alization of the importance of sound
school education in informatics, it
also showed a largely variable level of
effort and achievement across admin-
istrative units. For instance, the report
found that informatics was available
to all pupils in only 22 out of 50 units,
while in a further 10 units it was avail-
able to just some students, and in sev-
eral noticeable cases, no informatics
teaching was available at all. When
students could elect to take an infor-
matics course, there was evidence of
poor uptake, often as low as 10%.
The authors of the CECE report
included a number of recommendations that would serve to improve the
situation. Those recommendations
addressed each of the three areas (
informatics, digital literacy, and teacher training), and these form the basis
of the Informatics for All initiative.
Informatics for All
The task of moving forward with the
CECE recommendations was seen
as different in character from the
survey work. Importantly, the Infor-
matics for All Coalition was formed
by the joint efforts of ACM Europe,
Informatics Europe, and the Council
of European Professional Informat-
4 These organizations
all share a common concern about
the state of informatics education
throughout Europe, and are commit-
ted to stimulating activity that will
lead to significant improvement.
In moving forward, the new or-
ganization took the opportunity to
present a perspective on informatics
education that would reflect the ad-
vances that have occurred since 2014,
when the CECE work properly began.
Building on the CECE recommen-
dations, the report Informatics for
All: The Strategy12 was produced. The
emphasis of the report is on infor-
matics education, with informatics
seen as the science underpinning the
development of the digital world—
a distinctive discipline with its own
scientific methods, its own ways of
thinking, and its own technological
By emphasizing the constructive
and creative elements of the disci-
pline, the role of informatics in in-
novation and discovery and its role in
shaping the digital world, the disci-
pline is seen as an essential element
of education for the 21st century. Its
role in competitiveness and in the eco-
nomic prosperity of Europe (and be-
yond) further adds to its vital nature.
The report, which contains eight
recommendations (see the accompanying figure), was formally launched
in Brussels in March 2018. The
launch was attended by representatives of the European Commission
as well as representatives of industry
and academia; it received uniform,
Two-tier strategy. In many ways,
the Informatics for All initiative mirrors the CS for All initiative launched
in the U.S. in early 2016 (see sidebar).
A crucial element of the European approach, which distinguishes it from
the CS for All initiative, is the two-tier strategy at all educational levels:
Informatics as an area of specialization, that is, a fundamental and independent subject in school; and the
integration of informatics with other
school subjects, as well as with study
programs in higher education. Perhaps overly simplified, the two tiers
˲ All students must have access to ongoing education in informatics in the school system.
Informatics teaching should start in primary school.
˲ Informatics curricula should reflect the scientific and constructive nature of the
discipline, and be seen as fundamental to 21st century education by all stakeholders
(including educators, pupils, and their parents).
˲ Informatics courses must be compulsory and recognized by each country’s educational
system as being at least on a par with courses in STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. In particular, they must attract equivalent
credit, for example, for the purposes of university entrance.
˲ All teachers at all levels should be digitally literate. In particular, trainee teachers should
be proficient (via properly assessed courses) in digital literacy and those aspects of
informatics that support learning.
˲ Informatics teachers should have appropriate formal informatics education, teacher
training, and certification.
˲ Higher education institutions, departments of education, as well as departments of
informatics should provide pre-service and in-service programs, encouraging students to
enter a teaching career related to informatics.
˲ Ministries should be encouraged to establish national or regional centers facilitating the
development of communities of informatics teachers who share their experiences, keep
abreast of scientific advances, and undertake ongoing professional development.
Teaching the Teachers
˲ Intensive research on three different facets, curriculum, teaching methods and tools, and
teaching the teachers is needed to successfully introduce informatics into the school system.
The eight recommendations from Informatics for All: The Strategy.
The CS for All initiative, launched by President Barack Obama on January 30, 2016,
was highly imaginative and a catalyst for a burst of initiatives in computer science
(CS) education in the U. S. It fired the imagination and provided a focus for great
activity centered on the promotion of CS at all stages of education. The financial
commitments were impressive, even eye-watering!
The initiative could be seen as the culmination of earlier work on CS education
supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the CS Principles course
launched by the College Board,
7 the extensive work of the Computer Science
Teachers Association (CSTA),
8 and efforts by ACM, by code.org, and by many
others. Within ACM, the efforts included work on policy matters by the Education
Policy Committee, harnessing the invaluable support of major industrial players
through Computing in the Core (which has now merged with the code.org Advocacy
Coalition), lobbying on Capitol Hill, as well as actions from groups with members in
the ACM Education Council.
The U.S. Initiative CS for All