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UK.gov to build child army of software coders

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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. ®

Bootnote

* 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.

The report also cuts growth forecasts across the euro zone, which would have a domino effect on the UK economy.

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