The continued decline in the numbers of students taking GCSE ICT is down to a lack of role models in the IT industry, according to the National Computing Centre (NCC).
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This morning's results showed 61,022 students took GCSE ICT this year compared with 73,519 last year, representing a drop of 17%. Michael Dean, head of marketing at the NCC, believes the lack of role models in the IT sector is partly to blame.
"IT is used predominantly by the young with the use of social networking sites and mobile phones. Yet young people disconnect between the use of IT and the development in careers in IT," said Michael Dean.
"IT is fundamental to virtually everybody's lives. Yet young people don't see that as an attractive option as there are not enough role models," he continued.
"The lack of visible role models means young people making choices around the age of 14 potentially see IT as a boring, geeky subject dominated by males. The profession also has an issue with women in IT as there's not many of them. The profession doesn't look attractive if you are female," Dean added.
Dean also believes the education system undervalues IT qualifications and fails to encourage young people into IT careers through GCSE and A-level courses.