IT-related A-levels turn students off the profession and need to be revamped, according to Karen Price, chief executive...
of the public-private training partnership E-Skills UK.
Numbers taking computing and ICT fell by 10% and 6% respectively in 2007 compared with 2006. The number of pupils taking GCSE ICT also fell by 9%. The number of students taking either qualification has been falling for some time.
Price said there is a strong case for "making the curriculum more relevant", saying, "In some ways it is a worrying decline. It is a strong indicator that young people are still not finding the subject interesting or attractive.
"It is worrying in terms of attitude and aspirations of young people and in terms of the relevance of the subject."
She said that young people who attend employer-led workshops showing the reality of life in an IT career are often surprised at how interesting it could be.
She said, "There is an amazing mismatch between young people who think technology is quite exciting in terms of what they use in their day-to-day lives, and yet who find the subject as studied at school very boring, so think working in IT would be boring.
"I am not sure about the content of the A-level and how well mapped out it is to the requirements of the profession."
The new diploma in IT for 14- to 19-year-olds will be available from September 2008, and Price said she hopes a new approach to teaching IT will attract more students."The primary focus of the diploma is on technology in the context of business, and the transformational power of IT.
"It will teach people about technology in a way that makes them see how important it is in their lives. We are hoping it will turn a lot of people on to the subject."