Gov. Asa Hutchinson is touting an increase in the number of Arkansas students enrolled in computer science classes. The current school year saw a 30 percent increase for middle and high school students compared to the previous year.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Capitol, Hutchinson said that will have long term benefits.
"If you put it into the perspective of 8,000 students taking computer science, if only 10 percent of those had an entrepreneurial spirit, that means that we have 800 students every year going into our economy that wants to create something using their coding skills, that changes the dynamics of our economy in Arkansas, our future and the potential for these young people," Hutchinson said.
Anthony Owen, director of STEM education for the state, said he was encouraged that the largest increase was among 9th graders.
"We now see students that are taking that first year course at an earlier age allowing them for additional higher level opportunities before they graduate high school. So that was our dream whenever we… and the vision and the charge that Governor Hutchinson gave to us it was not just providing one opportunity to students, but providing a clearer pathway to the students when they get out in the field," Owen said.
Both Hutchinson and Owen said they were please to see that under the initiative, the number of computer science instructors has grown from 20 to 372.