Puerto Rico Leads Efforts to Expand Computer Science Education

May 1, 2016 -- Since joining ECEP last year, Puerto Rico has made significant progress in expanding access to computer science education. With an ECEP mini-grant, Puerto Rico provided support for a group teachers and faculty to participate in Exploring CS professional development workshops in Chicago and is translating Exploring CS into Spanish; the curriculum is being introduced to high schools in Puerto Rico this year. 

"ECEP has been crucial to our getting a computer science education program started at UPRRP in terms of mentoring, funding, and encouragement,” says Patricia Ordóñez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras. “We are very grateful for the expertise and creative ideas we have received through this multi-state collaboration.  ECEP has exponentially accelerated the development of our program."

In March, ECEP member Joseph Caroll Miranda, of the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras, presented on expanding CS education at a TEDxUPR conference. The response was overwhelmingly positive.  Computer science initiatives in Puerto Rico continue to gain momentum, starting with a new web space to help promote and strengthen a CS education alliance for Puerto Rico: CS4ALLPR.ORG. 
 
The Puerto Rico IT cluster, an alliance of industry, government, and academic leaders in Puerto Rico, has also committed to CS initiatives and projects for Puerto Rico for the next two years. The alliance is working on fundraising efforts to adopt a school to pilot a 7-12 CS curriculum. Members of the IT Cluster are also meeting with governor candidates and holding a forum to present their case for CS education in Puerto Rico with the expectation that computer science education will be part of the platform of aspiring governor candidates.
 
The good news from Puerto Rico should be encouraging to other states and territories working towards achieving CSforAll. In a short amount of time, the hard work of ECEP PR leaders and educators has led to increasing awareness and noteworthy changes in computer science education in the territory.