ICT education is not what we need – Official

Today, as you will have noticed from twitter, the UK government (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) has published “The Government’s response to Next Gen. Transforming the UK into the world’s leading talent hub for the video games and visual effects industries”.
The next gen report was originally written by Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope and is part of a ground swell of annoyance at the lack of proper technical education in schools due to the curriculum being filled with ICT which is “using” not “building”. Other reports have come out too from the government and with Google’s Eric Schmidt indicating in a major speech he felt the UK had too many luvvies and not enough boffins it really does need addressing.
The response in this new report does not exactly leap of the page calling for action. As with most government documents it is full of “welcoming comments”, “recognizing the issue” etc.
It does point to “lots” of after school clubs allowing various activities “However, the Department for Education is keen to encourage even more such clubs and looks forward to working with the sector to develop ways of achieving this.” yes that seems to be missing the point that these development skills for programming are actually core skills now, needed and lacking.
The report does sing the praises of Raspberry Pi as an ideal project and they seem to recognise that it is of use, though goes not further than that.
Equally in teaching the response is “The Government recognises the need for more high quality computer science teaching and will, over the next few months, be looking at the best ways to achieve this.”, but this is of course on the backdrop of a massive teaching strike over pensions this week.
I think the stand out quote though, and one that will be the seed for the beginning of any growth or change is
“However, the Government recognises that learning the skills to use ICT effectively and acquiring the knowledge of the underpinning computer science are two different (albeit complementary) subjects. Furthermore, the Government recognises that the current ICT programme is insufficiently rigorous and in need of reform.”
The rest of the report really is a lot of word play around not actually knowing what to do now they have spotted that.
Things move very slowly in politics, so hopefully armed with this information industry will step in to help. That of course leads to a two tier system of those that have the tech and those that do not. I was in a school that is sponsored by Apple last week. ipads and Macs everywhere, and more importantly being used to create and learn. We still have a long way to go but lets hope we can keep the next generation inspired long enough whilst the people with all the power get their act together.

One thought on “ICT education is not what we need – Official

  1. Pingback: The future of tech education – ICT upgrades to open source « Life at the Feeding Edge

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