Next Gen Skills today welcomed Secretary of State Michael Gove’s speech at BETT 2012 as a moment to “restart” computer science in schools. Ian Livingstone OBE, chair of the cross-industry Next Gen Skills Campaign launched in November 2011 to reform ICT and promote computer science as a GCSE, said:
“The Secretary of State’s announcement is to be warmly welcomed: the radical reform of ICT and introduction of computer science is long overdue. We believe the UK has gone backwards at a time when the requirement for computer science as a core skill is more essential than ever before. From creative industries to advanced manufacturing, programming is now so central to UK businesses that the lack of programming skills is a real barrier to growth and a constant source of frustration for hi-tech firms.
“It’s time for a restart to recapture that thirst for computing which started in the 1980s and lead to the UK being a market leader in computing, before the education system lost its way with office-based ICT. Working with the government, I am sure industry and educators can rise to the challenge is to make computer science exciting again for a whole new generation of children so they learn the skills they need and employers want, equipping them for fulfilling careers in the digital age.”
Next Gen Skills is being led by games and interactive entertainment trade body UKIE (including major international companies with UK interests such as Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Activision and SEGA, plus leading UK creative development studios such as Blitz Games Studios, PlayGen and The Creative Assembly). Other launch supporters include Google, TalkTalk, the British Screen Advisory Council, Guardian Media Group, Intellect, IPA, British Computing Society, Abertay University, Skillset, GuildHE, E Skills, NESTA and UK Screen (representing some of the world’s leading visual effects businesses, including Oscar winners Double Negative and Framestore).