UK Government warms to Next Gen, admits “reform” needed in computer education

By Patrick Garratt
28 November 2011 11:23 GMT

The UK Government has published its response to Ian Livingstone’s Next Gen report today, saying it agrees computer science education in the UK is in need of “reform”.

“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,” the Government said in its statement.

Next Gen was commissioned by creative industries minister Ed Vaizey in July 2010 as a review of skills necessary for the video games and visual effects industries.

The response said that 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.”

Livingstone has recommended that computer science be adopted as a compulsory subject on the UK national curriculum: there was no sign of the Government going that far in today’s statement.

Ed Vaizey said: “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 pushed his points home in an Independent piece this morning.

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.

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