CIOs from some of Britain's biggest enterprises are demanding a complete overhaul of the way the nation's young people are introduced to technology at school.
Their intervention highlights national concerns about both long-term industrial decline and the perceived need to instill real coding skills in schoolchildren as early as possible. While British kids are taught ICT (Information and Communications Technology) as a core part of the mandated syllabus (National Curriculum), they don't get much more practical exposure to the digital world beyond learning MS Office programs. Increasingly, it's become clear that Brits don't engage with enough of what makes tech work — therefore becoming passive consumers of computers rather than creators.
This weakness at the pre-college stage has been linked to a decline in the number of people studying technology at the university level. In 2003, 16,500 students applied to study computer science or IT first degrees; in 2007, that figure had slipped to 10,600. Though latest figures suggest a bounce back to 13,000 or so, the fact remains that Britain offers few global challengers (apart from Autonomy, now controversially a part of HP) when it comes to technology companies. Indeed, qualifications in ICT are so weak that many U.K. centers of higher education don't consider students prepared for college study in technology.
Source: Information Week