I have just read a really interesting post by Dan Barker in the Huffington Post United Kingdom edition. The post is titled “Decline and Fall: The UK’s Shocking IT Education Record”. It follows the recent Ofsted report on ICT education in schools.
In the post, Barker, a professional software developer, bemoans the fact that U.K. schools have a terrible record when it comes to teaching ICT skills. In a telling phrase he states: “I left school in 2007. In my entire time at secondary school, I had around 30 hours of computer education, concentrated between the ages of 11 and 12. I was not offered computing as an option at either GCSE or A-Level. Looking back now, it’s only because of my learning outside of school that I can do my job today. In that regard, none of my formal education prepared me in any way for the bulk of what I do from day to day”.
This is a young I.T. professional who is only too aware of the place that ICT skills have in the current world economy. He bemoans the fact that he deals with school leavers who do not have basic skills in this key area of the curriculum. He is wiling to attack politicians for their lack of awareness of the importance of these skills in fitting a young person for the digital world that we all now live in.
His final paragraph is perhaps the most concerning for us:
“The good news is that the problem is apparently now moving up the political agenda, with Michael Gove, the education secretary, admitting recently that he thought that computer science needed to be taught more in schools. But with the great credit-funded consumer boom only just spluttering on as we stare into the precipice of what is widely predicted to be another recession, and with a record 1 million 16 to 24 year-olds unemployed, the uncomfortable question is: Is this too little, too late?”
I can only add to this that it is about time that those people who are discussing the curriculum in schools appreciated the need to get to grips with the use of technology in education and the need to allow children to train in the proficient use of this technology so that they have the key skills that are required in order to compete on a global scale in the 21st century.
- Programming should take pride of place in our schools (guardian.co.uk)
- Secondary schools fail teenagers over computer lessons, says Ofsted (guardian.co.uk)
- Computer Science: the new English Language? (caroleannwright.wordpress.com)
- Computer lessons are out of date, admits government (guardian.co.uk)
- ICT ‘poor in secondary schools’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Computing classes don’t teach programming skills (telegraph.co.uk)
- Children to be taught to create software (telegraph.co.uk)