Study finds UK's ICT lessons 'highly unsatisfactory'
13th Jan 2012 | 11:30
Overhauls more than overdue
The Royal Society has branded the UK's teaching of computing 'highly unsatisfactory', finding that although there's no lack of technology in the UK's schools, most pupils lack a deep understanding of the machines and their uses.
Computer science is proving quite the problem – the study argues it has become as important for the UK's children to learn to code as it is for them to learn to read and write, yet most ICT lessons are still focused on basic computer functions.
The release of the report coincides with the Michael Gove's announcement that the current programme of computer science in schools will be scrapped in favour of more practical lessons designed by those in industry.
Ctrl Alt Delete
The Royal Society's report, titled Shut Down or Restart? The Way Forward for Computing in UK Schools, says, "The current delivery of computing education in many UK schools is highly unsatisfactory.
"We appear to have succeeded in making many people comfortable with using the technology that we find around us, but this seems to have been at the expense of failing to provide a deeper understanding of the rigorous academic subject of computer science."
Steve Furber, FRS Chair of the Royal Society, adds, "Action is needed not only on the curriculum itself, but also to recruit and train inspiring teachers to reinvigorate pupils' enthusiasm for computing."
Unlike in our day, when we were lucky to have ink in our inkwells and a scrap of parchment to learn to write on, the Royal Society's study also found that British schools now have more computers per pupil than nearly ever other European country.