IT A-Levels continue to decline

The number of students sitting exams in computing and ICT has fallen yet again this year.

While many students will be celebrating their A-Level results today, the IT sector isn't left with much to be happy about, as the number of students sitting computing and ICT exams has continued to fall.

Some 5,068 students from across the UK sat the computing A-Level, down nearly 10 per cent from 5,610 last year. That's just 0.6 per cent of the total students taking exams this year.

It's not helping the gender gap, either. Only 480 of those students were female, falling from 575 last year. At nine per cent, that's a smaller percentage than even the amount of women in the workforce, which hovers at just under a fifth of the total UK workforce. This is despite women earning more A' grades than their male counterparts, at 17.9 per cent to their 15.9 per cent.

ICT A-Levels were much the same. Overall, the number of students sitting the exam fell eight per cent from 13,360 last year to 12,277 this year which is just 1.5 per cent of the overall student body.

The gender gap is a bit closer for ICT studies. Women make up 38 per cent of overall ICT students across the UK, and 13.2 per cent of them earned A grades. That was significantly higher than the 7.6 per cent of male students which earned top marks.

Last year, a report from Microsoft showed that the number of computing A-levels being taken had fallen by 43 per cent between 2001 and 2006, leading many to wonder why students who have grown up with computing and internet technology lack any interest in studying it. A report by a recruitment firm earlier this year suggested the answer is simple: IT is seen as boring.

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