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Education, coding key for future employment and strong US says Apple CEO Tim Cook



"Changes need to take place," as Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday in the MSNBC Town Hall interview emphasized with more commentary on education on how to bring technology into disadvantaged classes and why everyone should learn code.

In the interview with MSNBC and Recode for the "Revolution: Apple Changing the World" special airing on April 6, Cook's proposed program was an important learning tool , "You do not need a four-year college education to learn code," he said, adding that the existing focus on coding needs to be broadened to create creativity.

This not only involves bringing technology into art education, but also into other thematic areas. Cook advises to reach the "interface of the humanities and technology, and at this interface we can enhance learning and creativity."

Asked that many solutions were being tried to integrate technology into education, but ultimately were unsuccessful, Cook was asked if Apple had a handle on what could work. Pointing out Apple's participation in education over the past 40 years, Cook claims "Our perspective is that teachers are jewels, we do not think it's the teachers' fault."

Apple's products are just tools, Cook adds, to help people instead of replacing them.

On Apple's push to bring iPads into the classroom, Cook says they are a reasonable expense for schools and educational institutions, especially over a three to four year life span. As a fairly wealthy country, Cook thinks the United States should invest in the concept.

"I think there is much more right in public education than it is wrong," Cook mused, with the teachers doing a great job integrating technology into the classroom and using it for the students.

When asked how all schools, even in underserved areas, could use technology, Cook admits: "Technology has helped all countries, but not equally." Equal opportunities must be offered, but Cook believes that this is not yet the case in the United States. Cook warned that the education system "needs to be changed."

In explaining the benefits of code, one teacher pointed out that it is important for students to learn about problem-solving and logic, and to approach a challenge that can be applied in other areas. It is also said that learning about coding helps demystify the technology.

"I want America to be strong in the first place, and I think we have to program that," insists Cook. "It's a language and it's all over our lives, it's problem solving, you need critical thinking to know what's wrong and what's real."

The central point of Apple's new focus on creativity is, "We want children to be creative, not just consumers." Apple wants students to create, write, make movies, record a podcast with the tools at their fingertips.

Looking to the future and employment, Cook explains that "education is life-long" because people can not just go to school for twelve years and stop learning. People need to see education as a lifelong process, as jobs are being replaced time and again by someone or something, forcing people to change.

A proposed opinion on poor career prospects is not right, he says, adding that many more jobs were created than those that were displaced. However, society has done a poor job of offering new opportunities to displaced workers.

Asked whether tech companies need to take responsibility for retraining displaced workers, Cook says governments and businesses should work together to tackle the problem. Apple has a responsibility, adds the CEO, even creating his own programming language to facilitate entry into technology-related roles, and has sought to develop a suitable school curriculum.

"Would not society be great if we all could work a little less, but still deserve what we do?" Cook thought about it before filling up about half a million software jobs, which will grow to 2 to 3 million over the next few years. More people need to engage in coding, he emphasizes, including contact with women and unrepresented minorities.

"We take responsibility for Apple, and companies should be more than revenue and profits."


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