Feeds

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

Prepare 'em for life, not Microsoft MCSE

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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". ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.