Government to lead review into computer science degrees

The government plans to fund an independent review into computer science degree accreditation to improve quality and graduate employability.

The government will fund an independent review into computer science degree accreditation to improve quality and graduate employability.

This will be part of a wider review into science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) degree accreditation, following the fact that science graduates have the highest unemployment rates of any subject area, despite the continued growth of the tech sector.

While the government has been concentrating its efforts by introducing the computing curriculum to schools this September, the review into higher level education and the way it is taught may also help make young graduates more employable.

The review was announced by the government as part of its £6bn Science and Innovation strategy.

“Our science and innovation can only be as good as the people that it can attract, educate, train and retain,” said the government. “We set out here a range of measures which will develop and support the brightest minds through the pipeline from primary and secondary school, further and vocational education, undergraduate and postgraduate study, and training into the workplace.”

The industry has responded to the report, in particularly members of the Tech Partnership – a network of employers collaborating to accelerate the growth of the digital economy.

“Good graduates are the lifeblood of our business,” said Susan Cooklin, CIO of Network Rail. "We need many more bright, motivated students with three core capabilities: relevant technical knowledge, an understanding of business, and the interpersonal skills to work successfully with others.”

Phil Smith, CEO UK & Ireland, Cisco, and chair of the Tech Partnership said: “University Computer Science courses provide an important recruitment pool for the sector. As a growing network of employers from right across the economy, the Tech Partnership has considerable experience of collaborating with universities to create new degree programmes that deliver outstanding academic and employment outcomes. We will be pleased to bring this experience to the review.”

Paul Fletcher, group chief executive of BCS, also showed his support for the review. “We are pleased to be working with the Tech Partnership on degree accreditation. Bringing together employers, professional bodies and universities is the way to best ensure accreditation is as valuable as possible to all stakeholders – in particular the individual who wants a great education and a great career,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Digital Youth Council has stated that teachers need more training and resources to equip students with vital digital skills.

Research from the council – founded by Virgin Media Business – stated that pupils aged 9 to 17 said teachers recognised the importance of making digital part of their lessons, but said unreliable equipment and a lack of training were deterring many from adopting new approaches.

This often leads to teachers being distracted from their core duties by having to address technical issues, or having to ask tech-savvy students to help their peers.

The research commissioned for Generation Tech concluded that only 15% of teachers consider themselves to be “completely tech-savvy”.

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