A recent report by the Corporate IT Forum (CIF) has uncovered a worrying decline in the standard of IT skills being developed in UK schools.
The CIF’s Education and Skills Commission has announced that IT education and IT careers support is not sufficient to close the IT skills gap that the UK is currently experiencing. Years of underinvestment in ICT education appears to have created a situation in which children will soon be leaving school without the skills necessary for life in an increasingly technology-focused world.
Unfortunately, as schools’ budgets are being cut, ICT is suffering more than most. ICT teachers are finding themselves unable to find the time or funding to continue professional development and are being left behind by the industry. In an industry as fast-moving as IT, professional development is critical, especially when the skills learnt are to be passed on.
The Education and Skills Commission report has included recommendations for improving IT skills in UK schools. The involvement of IT-dependent employers’ input and investment, improved IT career guidance and more STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers events are all highlighted in the report as areas to be improved upon.
The importance of developing IT skills early on is crucial for the future of the IT industry in the UK. With IT employment predicted to double by 2017, investment must be made now to meet the future demand for IT professionals.
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