Based on Ershov's address at the World Conference on Computer Education in 1981, Chinese educators decided that learning computer programming would prepare students for the information age. Accordingly, China introduced microcomputers into secondary schools to prepare students for widespread use of computers in all aspects of society. Microcomputers had already been used to facilitate administration, commerce, and other aspects of education.
An optional computer-programming course was initiated in several secondary schools. The experiences in China parallel in many ways the experiences encountered by other countries when computers were introduced. This article reports on the selection, development, and evaluation of the first computer-programming courses in China.