Programming is not more important than design..
idea -> design -> execution
without execution, you have nothing! Frankly, the vast amount of projects out there never passes execution
To a small degree, you also learn design by doing
A part of doing includes learning from other people, which in turn may have a much better design than you
Research & Duplicate!
I agree with you though, but.. for beginners, i would just get on with the programming
Just spending time finishing the projects should be more than enough
With that time spent, the beginner programmer will notice all kinds of deficiencies and complexities in his code
I think, that over time a programmer will start designing naturally
It is just one more thing to help us stay sane, after all.. i hope