UK.gov to build child army of software coders
Presumably they will all be supping on Silicon Roundabout milkshakes soon
IT and computer science in schools is in serious need of reform, the creative industries minister Ed Vaizey said today, thereby indicating that changes to the school curriculum were on the agenda.
The government needs to invest in video games and visual effects talent to help keep the UK "at the forefront" of that business sector, he added.
Vaizey's comments came following recommendations laid out in the "Next Gen" report, commissioned by the minister in July 2010, that was published earlier this year.
“The economic and cultural value of the UK’s video games and VFX sectors is clear and the long-term potential of their global markets present a great opportunity for UK-based businesses," Vaizey said.
"It is an industry that has real potential to create the high quality jobs of the future that will be so important as we recover from the recession*. We need to invest in talent that will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of games creativity.”
"Next Gen" detailed 20 specific recommendations for the government, industry and schools throughout the UK to consider.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sports noted that the skills listed for video games and visual effects talent also applied to the biz software, telecoms, engineering, design and social media sectors.
Curriculum and exam reforms are planned by the government to give pupils a "genuinely rigorous grounding" in computer science skills, it said. ®
* The OECD reported today that it expected that output in the UK would continue to fall in the final three months of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, prompting fears of a double-dip recession.
First: teach the teachers
Fine words indeed: let's just train a new generation of softies - why didn't anyone think of that before?
However, in order to train all these new games programmers 'n' all you first have to provide some qualified teaching staff. That would tend to imply that some people somewhere will have to be trained in the dark arts of writing software (and the darker arts of writing software that works properly).
BUT THEN you have to persuade these newly qualified and eminently employable people to not dash off and themselves take all the jobs that their freshly qualified pupils were meant to fill. Jobs that pay lots more than they'd get as teachers. Tricky.
Computer science has never been taught very well in schools, reform would be a good thing. But before they start giving Comp.Sci lessons, they need to start properly teaching the prerequisite skills like Maths and English and plenty of hard science subjects too.
As far as I can see, the UK school system is not teaching my kids any skills that will make them employable when they leave education. I don't my kids to be happy and content at school and leave with 10 grade A-star-super-double-plus grades in worthless subjects. I want them to learn the true meaning of hard work and hate every minute of it, but come out with a good technical skill set that will enable them to succeed in life.
This is not a new thing
After sitting my O-Levels (1987), I read an overview of the GCSE Computer Studies. It seemed to concentrate on using software rather than developing it. My O-Level Computer Studies included learning how to program in BBC Basic and assembly language. The change of focus was horrific.
This realisation by Gov.UK the coders that taught themselves or studied subjects where programming was taught are getting older and younger people are not entering the market is not a surprise. Why would anyone waste an O-Level on learning how to drive the current favourite office productivity software when I could learn a skill for earning a living.