Teach cybercrime at GCSE, says Symantec

As GCSE results out today showed a decline in the number of students taking ICT courses, security firm Symantec believes GCSE students should be taught more about information security to make lessons more engaging.

As GCSE results out today showed a decline in the number of students taking ICT courses, security firm Symantec believes GCSE students should be taught more about information security to make lessons more engaging.

Following the Royal Society's concern that ICT GCSE lessons are "too boring", Tony Osborn, manager of UK public sector at Symantec, believes teaching about cybercrime will liven up "dull" IT courses.

"Talking to them about topics such as poisoned Facebook applications, dirty music downloads and credit card phishing attacks gains their interest far more than the more bland aspects of ICT ever will. Information security should be included in the curriculum," Osborn said.

IT courses need to be made relevant to students by drawing on platforms they are using outside school, such as social networking sites. "Children learn about basic databases, [Microsoft] Powerpoint and Excel, but it's hard to relate that to the real world," said Osborn.

"About 95% of everything young people do when they reach adult life and get a job will involve a computer. Knowledge, awareness and appreciation [of IT] will make them a better employee and more employable."

A total of 61,022 students took GCSE ICT this year compared with 73,519 last year - a drop of 17%.

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