Executive order makes computer science, applied technologies required for high school graduation
By The Star Staff
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, along with Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) Secretary Manuel Cidre Miranda and designated Education Secretary Yanira Raíces Vega, signed Executive Order 2023-031 on Monday, which requires teaching computer science and applied technologies in island high schools.
$10 million will be allocated to implement programs and modernize educational spaces in those areas.
“We expand the scope of previous actions with this executive order,” the governor said. “We will educate the next generations and promote sustainable development in tune with local and global economic trends.”
Pierluisi added that by investing in the aforementioned areas, competitiveness will be improved and technology companies will be attracted to Puerto Rico. Some $10 million will be invested to coordinate with the Department of Education and DDEC to meet the objectives of the executive order.
DDEC and the Department of Education agreed to collaborate to provide technical assistance. The effort seeks to position Puerto Rico in a leadership position in the knowledge economy.
The DDEC secretary noted the strategic change.
“We are transforming education from the primary grades, providing essential 21st century skills,” Cidre said. “We seek to be attractive to global companies that want specialized talent.”
Raíces, meanwhile, highlighted her commitment to the project.
“With this initial allocation, we provide access to essential knowledge to advance technological studies,” she said. “Education is fundamental for economic development.”
The order establishes that for the 2024-2025 school year, the Department of Education will offer a course in the aforementioned areas as a graduation requirement. Also, the aim is to have trained teachers in all high schools and to strengthen the academic offer. The expansion of the dual enrollment model for high school students will also be considered.
Additionally, the creation of a strategic plan, in collaboration with DDEC, is proposed. It will consider objectives, program metrics, graduation requirements, training and an implementation calendar, among other factors.
“Global demand for technology jobs is growing, with an estimated 25 percent increase in programming jobs over the next decade,” the governor said. ““We are determined to prepare our workforce for the technological field, a rapidly growing sector.”