Eidos head Ian Livingstone is hoping to see a message from the UK government that it’s listening to calls for an adoption of computer science as a compulsory subject in schools, speaking in the Independent this morning.
The British government is to publish an official response to Livingstone’s Next Gen report today – published this year as a review of skills necessary for the video games and visual effects industries – which recommended the discipline should be automatically taught to British children.
While he is realistic about the possibility of computer science being adopted by the national curriculum, Livingstone is “hopeful that there has been a realisation that it is essential knowledge for the 21st Century. It would be very encouraging if a door at the Department for Education would now open to lead to curriculum reform.”
Livingstone reiterated this morning that he believes computer science is “essential knowledge” for current learners.
“Teachers I’ve talked to since Next Gen’s publication mostly agree with our findings, saying they too are frustrated by the narrowness of ICT,” he said.
“Recommendation 1 is to bring computer science into the National Curriculum as an essential discipline; Recommendation 5 is to include art and computer science in the English Baccalaureate.”
Livingstone warned that a lack of directed computer education in the UK will lead to a generation of application “readers” as opposed to “writers”.
“There are computers in our classrooms but, for the most part, they are not used effectively,” he said. “The National Curriculum requires schools to teach not computer science but ICT – a strange hybrid of desktop-publishing lessons and Microsoft tutorials. While Word and Excel are useful vocational skills, they are never going to equip anybody for a career in video games or visual effects.”
Google, Microsoft, Intellect, the IPA, Talk Talk, the British Computing Society, the British Screen Advisory Council, NESTA, UKIE, Skillset, E Skills “and others” have now formed a “cross-sector coalition” to lobby Government on the matter.