Feeds

Employers' group: New comp sci GCSE driven by vendor agenda

Prepare 'em for life, not Microsoft MCSE

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Employers have criticised the government’s computer science GCSE work for having a vendor agenda which means that it may fail to deliver business-ready IT graduates.

The Corporate IT Forum has told The Reg it feels IT suppliers have a "very significant" degree of influence on the Department for Education's work on the new GCSE.

The group represents 320 organisations – altogether employing 145,000 professional IT staff – ranging from McDonalds and Balfour Beatty to GCHQ and HMRC. The group said it thinks the proposed GCSE runs the risk of turning out students qualified to support Microsoft or Cisco products rather than for serving businesses outside of tech.

The corporate IT group told us it wants more input from its members about the new qualification.

Meanwhile, the forum has advised against the education department’s proposal to end the current ICT curriculum in September.

While the ICT course has been panned by all for not turning out suitably qualified students, the forum believes killing it before the new GCSE arrives is dangerous.

The Corporate IT Forum, which participated in the DfE’s ICT curriculum consultation that closed Wednesday, told The Reg that killing the course before 2014 would allow individual schools too much scope to simply not bother to teach any form of ICT course.

The DfE’s new GCSE is currently being developed with the help of a programme called Behind the Screen – devised by eSkills UK – that is working with a range of employers. Among these employers are Microsoft, Cisco, Deloitte, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, John Lewis – which is also a member of Corporate IT Forum – with the National Grid and Procter & Gamble.

Cisco, meanwhile, has pledged to train 4,000 students in its network technologies by opening academies in East London and the Olympic boroughs in what it is calling an “investment legacy” after the Olympics. The network giant is an Olympics sponsor and is providing the Games’ network infrastructure.

However, Corporate IT Forum executive director David Roberts told El Reg: “We’d like to raise the consciousness of government to the extent it may be influenced by suppliers to the point there aren’t any other ways IT is being used... For the Forum it’s about the need to raise the profile between IT and making UK PLC more productive.”

He said that compartmentalising schoolkids' qualifications by type of technology is a bad idea and that pupils would need skills that are transferable between different employers and which cater to the needs of business.

“It seems the business aspect of how IT is used is completely left out of everything – those things are not included in something that’s supplier-dominated,” he said.

The group plans to produce a set of recommendations for the DfE on 10 key IT activities it believes that all schoolchildren should have by the age 16; this will be based on forthcoming research the group plans to conduct by July.

As part of its participation in the DfE’s consultation process on the September termination of the ICT curriculum, meanwhile, the forum has recommended a number of steps to give students and teachers more experience of technology in a non-vendor-specific and more business-aware context. These included offering ICT teachers work placements with employers, mentoring and coaching for schools and teachers, and employers providing input into teaching materials.

Joanna Poplawska, the forum's performance director, said that the idea is to “make the seesaw between suppliers and IT users more balanced". ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.