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Obama: Games can make education relevant for young people

US president believes interest in games could lead to interest in maths and science

President Barack Obama has endorsed the introduction of computer programming courses to the US school system.

In a Google+ Fireside Hangout, President Obama cited the importance of video games and the internet in modern culture as compelling reasons to educate high-school children in how to create programmes, apps and games.

"Part of what I'm trying to do here is make sure that we're working with high schools and school districts all across the country to make the high school experience relevant for young people, not all of whom are going to get four year college degree or advanced degree," he said.

"Given how pervasive computers and the Internet is now and how integral it is in our economy and how fascinated kids are with it, I want to make sure that they know how to actually produce stuff using computers and not simply consume stuff."

And video games could be the catalyst necessary to engage students. Obama pointed to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg as someone whose interest in games led him toward programming and, ultimately, enormous success.

"And there are a whole bunch of young people out there I suspect who, if in high school are given the opportunity to figure out 'here's how you can design your own games', but it requires you to know math, and it requires you to know science, or 'here's what a career in graphic design looks like'. We're going to start setting those programmes in our high schools, not waiting to go to community college," he added.

Obama's comments echo the driving ideas behind the Livingstone-Hope Next Gen Skills campaign, which led to broad changes in the UK national curriculum - including the addition of computer science to the English Baccalaureate.

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.

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