Bring Computer Science To Schools, Says Industry

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Some of the biggest names in multi-media and IT want the government to kick IT education up a notch

Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and Google are just some of the big names in the UK digital, creative and hi-tech industries putting pressure Government to put coding back into schools, it has been reported.

Earlier this year, The Livingstone-Hope Skills Review, NextGen, was submitted to Government, requesting that government include computer science in the national curriculum. Today, industry is expecting a response to that report.

According to Eidos co-founder, Ian Livingstone, the scope of the ICT curriculum currently in schools is narrow and superficial. Which, he says in an independent report, “risks creating a generation of digital illiterates, and starving some of the UK’s most successful industries of the talent they need to thrive.”

Growth opportunity

Organisations like IPA, NESTA and Skillset, among others, claim that while the UK has the potential to be a “global hub for the video games and special effects industries,” it requires the support of the education system, which currently takes a very non-technical approach, to improve the computer programming skills needed for the future growth of the UK’s economy.

“It is the combination of computer programming skills and creativity by which world-changing companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Zynga are built. Indeed, in a world where computers define so much of how society works, I would argue that computer science is “essential knowledge” for the 21st century,” added Livingstone.

Companies such as Google, Microsoft, Intellect, the IPA, Talk Talk, the British Computing Society, the British Screen Advisory Council, NESTA, UKIE, Skillset, E Skills and others have put their names behind NextGen. “UKIE, the video-games-industry trade association, has led this cross-sector coalition to take forward the report’s recommendations. While I would not expect the Government to go so far as to announce that computer science will be included in the National Curriculum in the near future, I am now hopeful that there has been a realisation that it is essential knowledge for the 21st century. It would be very encouraging if a door at the Department for Education would now open to lead to curriculum reform,” said Livingstone.

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