More girls take IT GCSE

Robert Dunt

The IT industry could start to lose its male dominated image if trends in this week's GCSE examinations...

Robert Dunt

The IT industry could start to lose its male dominated image if trends in this week's GCSE examinations continue.

Almost 40,000 girls took the IT GCSE alongside 59,000 boys, according to the Joint Council for General Qualifications.

John O'Sullivan, project director at the E-skills National Training Organisation, said the GCSE figures bode well for future industry equality. "In terms of entry to university the ratio has been four boys to one girl and that's got worse over the last 10 years," he said. "Hopefully these GCSE figures will give us a similar improvement in the A-levels in the next two years and the university entries after that."

Only 4,000 girls entered the A-level this year, compared to 15,000 boys.

Overall, entries for the IT GCSE rose more than any other subject this year from 86,959 to 97,963 - up 10% on 1999 figures. This was the fifth consecutive annual rise.

Similar increases were seen with the GNVQ vocational IT qualification. Uptake of foundation courses went up by 35% and intermediate courses by 16%. This contrasts with a general trailing off of GNVQ entries.

A six-year-old girl from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire became the youngest girl to pass an IT GCSE.

Elissa Patel achieved a grade C after just nine months of study. Patel's classmate, Rajaei Sharma, also aged six, became the youngest boy to pass the IT GCSE.

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