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Axing ICT teaching could worsen skills gap

Simon Quicke

With the deadline looming for responses to the government's proposal to axe ICT from the school curriculum one of the industry skills groups has called for a rethink.

The public consultation over the changes to the way computer skills are taught in schools ends today and among those chipping in with its views is the Corporate IT Forum's Education and Skills Commission, which argues that the strategy should be an overhaul not the chop for the current lessons.

"The Corporate IT Forum Education and Skills Commission agrees that the current ICT curriculum is failing to meet the needs of employers and should be improved as a matter of urgency.  We are very concerned that the absence of a programme of study or attainment targets for any period of time will severely disadvantage large groups of children," said Commission Chairman John Harris, Chair of The Corporate IT Forum.

The Forum is not alone in expressing doubts that cutting the current lessons, which are widely seen as failing to deliver a decent education, is the way to go and many have called for revisions until a better replacement can be found.

One of the main criticisms of the current curriculum is that it has failed to keep up with technological developments and the Corporate IT Forum is advising the government to make sure that teaching keeps up with what is happening outside the classroom.

But Harris warned that cutting teaching could impact competitiveness and exacerbate the skills gap.

"Technology is such an important component of business competitiveness that the UK must be able to provide a workforce with in-depth knowledge of computer science and technical skills - both at a strategic management level and in the form of specialist technicians," he said.

"If we do not, businesses will locate their IT centres elsewhere, where they can get the staff and we will reduce the number of IT innovators and entrepreneurs produced in the UK," he added.


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