Teachers have warned that over-indulgent middle-class...
- Education Professionals
The UK's attitude to computer education needs a rethink
In schoolrooms across the country, pupils have long learned how to use Word, and Excel, and how to make PowerPoint presentations during ICT classes. Programming and web design – the ability to create websites and computer programs from scratch – is still deemed an extra-curricular hobby when it should be seen as integral to the subject.
Within the UK's rapidly growing digital industries, demand for developers is always high, yet the supply is perpetually low. Startups across London struggle to recruit developers they can afford, and growing companies spend months trying to expand their technology teams – many developers choose to remain freelance, charging up to £1,000 a day to clients, because they know how desperately they're needed.
While the UK's ICT education seems largely outdated, other countries are taking bold steps to inject basic programming into the earliest stages of state education. An initiative begins this month in Estonia training primary school teachers to teach basic web and mobile application to children as young as six.
If the UK wishes to compete with Silicon Valley and the growing tech hubs in India and China, we must teach our children to get their hands dirty, early on, rather than relying on volunteers and educational startups to plug the gap. This won't happen if we persist in teaching them how to use a word processor, rather than build one.