Computer Science Literacy in a Global Context: Experiences in Argentina

Sponsored by Center for Latin American Studies


Friday, May 4, 2018
12:30 pm – 1:20 pm
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Bolivar House
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(650) 725-0383

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Carlos Areces, Tinker Visiting Professor

There is a worldwide need to promote youth engagement in Computer Science (CS). Taking Argentina as an example, our universities graduate approximately 4000 CS students per year (compared to 10000 in Law and 15000 in Economics) while at least twice that amount is necessary to fulfill the necessities of the national industry [1, 2].

Studies suggest that the lack of early CS education can influence career choices: students may not be selecting CS simply because they do not know what CS is [3, 4]. In Argentina, CS is not taught at school, not even as an optional course. The part of the school curriculum that touches themes related to technology focuses on user training rather than on CS fundamental knowledge. Students learn how to use a word processor, a spreadsheet, or how to create an on-line blog; they are not introduced to what algorithms are or trained in computational thinking. This context is not unique to Argentina; many countries (including developed countries) share the same problem and are working towards a solution. This is the case, for example, in the US [5], New Zealand [6], and the UK [7].

There is increasing consensus that introducing students to CS in high school (and even primary school) is necessary not only to help them make educated choices about their professional future, but also to include them in the technological world in which we currently live, as active and creative citizens. Institutions, companies, universities and teachers around the world are working towards this goal with several initiatives.

Carlos Areces is a full professor in the Computer Science Section of the Facultad de Matemática, Astronomía, Física y Computación at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, where he is the director of the Logics, Interaction and Intelligent Systems (LIIS) Group. He is teaching PHIL 156A: Modal Logistics: A Modern Perspective in spring 2018.


[1] M. Alonso and G. Molino, Síntesis de información estadística universitaria argentina 2014–2015. Secretaría de Políticas Universitarias, Ministerio de Educación de la Nación, Argentina, pp. 1–27, 2016.

[2] Observatorio Permanente de la Industria del Software y Servicios Informáticos, Estado y Perspectivas de la Transformación Digital en las Empresas Argentinas, Cámara de la Industria Argentina del Software, 2016.

[3] L. Carter, Why students with an apparent aptitude for computer science don’t choose to major in computer science. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, vol. 38, nr. 1, pp. 27–31, 2006.

[4] S. Grover, R. Pea, and S. Cooper, Remedying misperceptions of computer science among middle school students, in Proceedings of the 45th ACM technical symposium on Computer science education. 2014, pp. 343–348.

[5] Computer Science For All initiative. https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/01/30/computer-science-all

[6] T. Bell, Establishing a nationwide CS curriculum in New Zealand high schools, Commun. Assoc. Comput. Machinery, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 28–30, 2014.

[7] S. Furber, Shut down or restart? The way forward for computing in UK schools, Royal Society, London, U.K., Tech. Rep. DES2448, 2012.

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