ICT in schools needs a reboot to stimulate economy

The government has called for a shake-up in the way ICT and computer science is taught in schools to stimulate economic growth.

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The government has called for a shake-up in the way ICT and computer science is taught in schools in order to stimulate economic growth.

The comments follow a review of skills for the UK’s video games and visual effects (VFX) sectors. According to statistics from PwC, the global market for video games will grow from $56bn (335bn) in 2010 to $82bn in 2015.

But these same skills are also needed for business software, telecoms and social media, said the department for Culture Media and Sport.

Communications minister Ed Vaizey said the UK’s video games and VFX sectors presents an opportunity for UK-based businesses.

“It is an industry that has real potential to create the high quality jobs of the future that will be so important as we recover from the recession. We need to invest in talent that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of games creativity,” he said.

In September the government announced plans to change the GCSE IT curriculum to make the subject more focused on the needs of business. Through its curriculum and exam reforms the government hopes to offer pupils a thorough grounding in computer science.

The government will be working with IBM, Cisco, Deloitte, HP, Microsoft, National Grid, Proctor and Gamble, and Capgemini to pilot the new GCSE IT curriculum. The pilot is intended to create a greater emphasis on designing software and writing computer programs in school.

 

Photo: comedy_nose on flickr

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I teach ICT in school and find this a little daft. Yet again the Government tries to cure its ails by changing something other than its economic policy.

We all drive cars, use phones and other technology but are not expected to improve the economy by learning how to build them in school. We all use computers as well but that doesn't mean we have to learn how to create software, program or build ICs in school either - does it? (by the way I can teach electronics and programming as I came to teaching ICT through Design Technology so I say this not because I can't teach these subjects!)

We have universities and colleges in which our youth can specialise - schools provide a basic education to enable most pupils to function as members of society. This basis includes literacy, numeracy and functional levels of ICT. Schools do not churn out mathematicians and playwrights, poets or novelists - pupils decide to do these things and take it upon themselves to further their knowledge using degrees and other further education.

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