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UK ICT classes killing kids' interest in tech

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The Royal Society is to investigate why British schools are failing to interest children in information technology - and why numbers taking classes are falling so fast.

Since 2006 there has been a 33 per cent fall in pupils taking ICT GCSEs, and numbers taking A-levels in ICT have fallen by a third in six years. The number of candidates taking A-level Computing has fallen 57 per cent in eight years.

The Society is working with other organisations to find out why schools are failing so badly, especially when so many kids are obsessed with gadgets, computer games, social networking and playing music really bloody loudly on their mobile phones.

Professor Matthew Harrison, Director of Education at The Royal Academy of Engineering said: “Young people have huge appetites for the computing devices they use outside of school. Yet ICT and Computer Science in school seem to turn these young people off. We need school curricula to engage them better if the next generation are to engineer technology and not just consume it.”

Professor Steve Furber is chairing the study for the Royal Society, and said the UK had a proud history of technological innovations - including the World Wide Web.

Furber said: "From this bright start, we are now watching the enthusiasm of the next generation waste away through poorly conceived courses and syllabuses.  If we cannot address the problem of how to educate our young people in inspirational and appropriate ways, we risk a future workforce that is totally unskilled and unsuited to tomorrow’s job market."

The BCS, Microsoft, Google and several universities are also involved. The group expects to have finished the report by winter 2011. More info is available here. ®

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