Should Programming Be Taught in Schools?

Oliver Earl asks:

Do you encourage schemes to get kids into programming at school? Do you think it should be taught as part of IT curricula at school?

While I think it’s a great idea to encourage kids to learn to program, I don’t believe it should be required. Let’s face it: the number of jobs out there in the world which would require this particular skill set is relatively small. You can argue that those jobs are growing in number, and you’d be correct. However, I just feel that this should be offered as an elective. Leave the required classes to the basics our country is so desperately in need of: Reading. Writing. Math. Science.