IT education in 'disarray' says Corporate IT Forum

Careers support and education in IT is in "disarray", according to a report from the Corporate IT Forum.

The Forum's Education & Skills Commission has published the first of four reports on addressing the IT skills crisis facing the UK.

Research among Forum members has identified a number of causes for skills shortages that are affecting more than half of large organisations.

These range from outsourcing policies and an ageing workforce through to insufficient understanding of IT and what it enables in both the boardroom and on the shop floor.

The first report, "The Early Years", focuses on the school years and finds an IT education and careers system in "complete disarray".

The report makes 20 recommendations on education, careers guidance and the development of the new IT curriculum.

These include the need for input from a range of major employers who use IT to deliver products and services, rather than just those who are IT developers and vendors.

The recommendations also include a requirement for schools to ring-fence money for careers guidance and to provide face-to-face advice and STEM Careers events for all year nine pupils

There should be "sufficient government funding" to enable every school to have a STEM or Computer Club.

There should also be support for the bulk of the recommendations in the recent Royal Society Report on the ICT Curriculum, including the un-bundling of the curriculum into the three subject areas of digital literacy, IT and computer science.

Unlike the Royal Society the Commission recommends that online security, safety and etiquette should sit within digital literacy, rather than IT.

The Commission also recommends the use of a single examination board for IT, as is proposed for English and Maths. The Commission says IT examinations need to be of a standard that will be recognised by all universities (which is not currently the case).

Commission chairman John Harris says, "Employment in the IT industry is expected to grow at nearly five times the UK average over the next decade.

"Yet, careers support and education for children and young people interested in pursuing a career in IT is in disarray."

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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