Student interest in ICT plummeting

With ICT course registration dropping sharply in schools, the Royal Society has called for a review into the decline.

Students

The Royal Society has called for a report into why student interest in ICT and computer sciences has plummeted in recent years.

Research from the Joint Council for Qualifications has shown a 33 per cent fall in pupils taking ICT GCSEs between 2006 and 2009, while A Level ICT registration has slumped by a third over six years.

Also alarming is the fall in A Level Computing course attendance, which dropped 57 per cent from 2001 to 2009 .

The new report will not only explore the importance of ICT in schools, but also look into the economic impact of continued low levels of interest.

The study, which has the backing of 24 organisations including Google and Microsoft, will seek solutions to the problem.

"If we cannot address the problem of how to educate our young people in inspirational and appropriate ways, we risk a future workforce that is totally unskilled and unsuited to tomorrow's job market," warned Professor Steve Furber, fellow of the Royal Society and chair of the study.

An open call for evidence will be initiated this year alongside stakeholder consultation meetings during 2010.

It is expected the study will be completed by winter 2011.

"We need to impart enthusiasm for computing, and a thorough understanding of the underlying principles. This will ensure that the UK continues to lead in harnessing the prodigious power of computing," added Professor Andrew Blake, deputy managing director at Microsoft Research.

"Let's inject more energy and excitement into the study of computing and so demonstrate to young people the key role they could have in shaping the future."

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