Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/01/31/computer_science_a_science_like_physics_new_ebacc/

Comp Sci becomes 'fourth science' in English Baccalaureate

On a par with Physics for spotty Blighty blighters

By Anna Leach

Posted in Government, 31st January 2013 08:36 GMT

Education Minister Michael Gove has added computer science into the new English Baccalaureate as a "fourth science", putting it on a par with Physics, Biology and Chemistry, the Department of Education announced today.

Computer Science is the only extra subject to make it onto the list of core academic subjects that comprise the new English Baccalaureate or EBacc qualification.

Religious Studies and Music did not make the list.

The EBacc is designed to get more pupils studying core subjects at GCSE level. Pupils can gain an EBacc by achieving an A* to C pass in: English, maths, history or geography, a modern language and three out of the four sciences.

In the new system, this makes Computer Science as valuable as Physics, Biology or Chemistry.

The main impact of putting computer science on the EBacc will be to incentivise schools to get their kids on it - EBacc results will be used to determine league table rankings.

Gove removed the previous Computer Science curriculum last year, after describing it as "harmful".

Tech industry top bods urged Gove to include Computer Science in the EBacc at the end of 2012. The Department of Education's announcement today cites Google twice - mentioning both Eric Schmidt's famous 2011 comments about British IT education and including a statement from "a Google spokesperson" welcoming the change.

Tech companies aside, other employees have pressed for more general digital literacy too, saying that employees needed better computer skills. In a November speech, Gove enthused about the UK's new digitally literate future:

Imagine the dramatic change which could be possible in just a few years... Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers, we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch. By 16, they could have an understanding of formal logic previously covered only in University courses and be writing their own Apps for smartphones.

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