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Government commits to reforming computer science teaching

"The current ICT programme is insufficiently rigorous"

The UK Government has committed to reforming ICT and computer science teaching in schools.

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The news comes from its response to Next Gen, an independent review of skills for the UK's videogames and visual effects sectors published earlier this year by Eidos life president Ian Livingstone and Double Negative founder Alex Hope.

The review detailed 20 recommendations for Government, educators and industry to transform the UK into the world's leading talent hub for video games and visual effects.

Among those was the recommendation to bring computer science into the National Curriculum as an essential discipline. While the Government hasn't committed to this, it did say today:

"The Government recognises that the current ICT programme is insufficiently rigorous and in need of reform. The Government is committed to introducing a slimmed down, more focused, and more rigorous curriculum.

"Teaching of ICT and computer science in schools needs reform to better reflect the changing role of technology and the need to engage the computer scientists of the future.

"... Through its curriculum and exam reforms the Government will look to pave the way for the sector to help schools offer pupils a genuinely rigorous grounding in computer science."

"The key themes of Next Gen resonate far beyond video games and VFX: many of the skills demanded by these employers are equally desired in the much wider economy, from the digital and creative economy of business software, telecoms and social media to the cutting edge of engineering and design... Skills development is a crucial issue for the sectors in order to build on their reputation and exploit the growing market opportunities."

Creative industries minister Ed Vaizey added: "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.

"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."

Livingstone said in a statement that the government's response to the Livingstone Hope review was "very encouraging".

"To recognise that the current ICT programme is insufficiently rigorous is a great step forward and opens the door to curriculum reform.

"Computer science is essential knowledge for the 21st century and we recommend nothing less than it being included in the national curriculum."

Vaizey said in September he'd back a move to help create a gaming room in the Houses of Parliament.

[ SOURCE: Government ]

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