IT education

Government attacked over plans to ditch technology policy unit

Kathleen Hall

Critics have hit out at the government’s decision to scrap the body responsible for overseeing IT strategy in schools, the Technology Strategy Unit (TSU).

The TSU will be disbanded after April following plans by education secretary Michael Gove to ditch the IT curriculum in favour of computer science and programming subjects.

“The government must take technology education seriously," said Kevin Brennan MP, Labour’s shadow schools minister. "It is no good announcing a major overhaul of the IT curriculum, and then sacking the team responsible for implementing it.

“We cannot rely on an old-fashioned approach of chalk and talk. Ofsted’s review into IT showed that there is still a huge amount to do to ensure the curriculum meets the needs of our technology industries," he said.

"In January, Gove promised a new approach to technology policy, with support from the government. Today’s news signals their true intentions,” said Brennan.

The government appears to have no interest in involving the best educators in national leadership for IT, and is actively cutting its existing capacity

Merlin John, IT education expert

IT education expert Merlin John wrote in a blog post: “The coalition government is flying in the face of international trends. UK experts in learning with technology are in demand all over the world, helping governments develop their strategies and investments.

“However, the government appears to have no interest in involving some of the best educators of their generation in national leadership for IT, and is actively cutting its existing capacity.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said it was fully committed to the importance of technology in education and was still taking forward activities to support that. 

"Ministers have made clear it is not the role of government to interfere in what schools do with IT, hence this change. Excellent developments such as Raspberry Pi and Computing at School have taken off in schools precisely because government has stepped back and let the experts take the lead,” he said.

Image: Thinkstock

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