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Free coding comes to Portugal

Programming lessons to be offered to 120,000 schoolchildren, training for 3,000 teachers

More than 120,000 schoolchildren in Portugal will be able to learn programming for free, as will 3,000 teachers, for whom there are already 200 training grants, through the non-profit organisation

Created 10 years ago in the United States, the international movement has arrived in Portugal courtesy of the Santander Portugal Foundation, an arm of Banco Santander that is a partner in the project.

Relying on teachers, the programme already has training grants available so that teachers can learn the basics and then apply them in the classroom, “regardless of the subjects they teach”, says Lusa.

All teachers, from pre-school to secondary school, can sign up at The goal is to train 3,000 teachers over the next three years.

To this end, there is free content available on the platform: there are 28 online modules, which teachers can watch at their own pace, and four webinars to help implement a final project in the classroom with their students.

The training, accredited by the Training Centre of the National Association of Computer Teachers, will last 50 hours and will count towards the teachers’ career progression, says the Santander Foundation.

“As an open and free platform, is helping to repair the social elevator, providing access for all and contributing to a more inclusive society,” Inês Oom de Sousa, president of the Santander Portugal Foundation, tells Lusa. “Programming must increasingly become a language that is learnt from an early age, just like other essential languages. In the future, we will all need to be able to ‘speak’ the language of programming.”

The ‘Hour of Code’ campaign will also be launched, consisting of one-hour events in which children can get to know programming for the first time, through videos, games and activities.

The idea is to teach children and young people to programme, preparing them for the professions of the future, taking into account a recent report from the World Economic Forum that estimated that 83 million of current 673 million jobs will be eliminated and that the most sought-after professions in the future will be in tech (from analysts and data scientists, to big data or Artificial Intelligence specialists and cyber security professionals). has a number of high-profile ambassadors, including US presidents Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, as well as former and current tech bosses Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Susan Wojcicki and Sheryl Sandberg. 

Singer Bono, activist Malala, UK businessman Richard Branson and Santander group CEO Ana Botín are among the other ambassadors of an initiative that today has more than 80 million students participating.

Source: LUSA