Dr Karsten Trinitis, Professor of Compuer Science at the Universities of Munich and Bedfordshire
First of all, let me thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak at the Westminster Forum and get directly in touch with representatives from the Department for Education, from universities, and from schools in the UK. Working for both a UK and a German university, it is a fascinating experience to see both worlds. And, being originally from Germany, I am aware of the fact that Germans somehow have a reputation of being anxious when it comes to change.
Nevertheless, when I first looked at the new ICT curriculum, it did in fact seem a bit strange to me, with regard to aiming at teaching 5 year old pupils to understand what algorithms are. By comparing it to when German schools start to teach informatics or computer science related subjects to pupils, this is normally not being done before the age of 10 (which holds true for Bavaria, where I come from).
In some federal states (education in Germany is entirely up to the federal state) it is not even mandatory to teach informatics or computer science at all. However, digital literacy issues are taught throughout the country. Looking back at how I became a computer science professor, I did not start using a computer or thinking about algorithms before I was sixteen. We had a small computer room in secondary school (Commodore PET machines), on which I started writing simple programs for evaluating physical formulas and later on writing simple computer games like e.g. tennis. Later on, I bought an old Commodore PET from one of our teachers and published programs for the Commodore64 in the mid 1980s, before I finally studied electrical engineering with an emphasis on computer science, did my PhD and became a professor at the University of Bedfordshire.
You can see more of my presentation below: