Just what is going on with IT in our secondary education sector?

19 October 2016

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Forgive us from returning to this subject so soon, but it’s so important we feel that the more pressure (and we’re not kidding ourselves that this blog will change matters) that can be applied to try to ensure that Scotland and indeed the UK has a – what’s the phrase that’s always trotted out? - world-class education system, the better - especially in the vital areas of ICT/computing studies/digital marketing/coding etc.

A few days ago we had the news that the scrapping of the ICT qualification at GCSE level was, according to a report issued then, “a mistake”, while north of the border the National Level 5 (equivalent to the English GCSE) computer science exam contained “a number of typographical and coding errors … and that ‘grade boundary adjustments’ had to be made in order to mark the paper to a fair standard”.

On top of this, when you realise that in Scotland, ‘computing’ exams don’t carry the same weight as do the core subjects (English, Maths), and that as a result head-teachers don’t push what we might call ‘proper’ IT (i.e. not just Word, Excel and Powerpoint) as much as they should, is it any wonder that things are where they are?

We know that governments (in Holyrood and London) know these things. We don’t believe that they are not concerned or that they don’t want to do anything about them.  We just aren’t seeing enough positive signs, or rather, as the two stories cited here suggest, the opposite.

Stuart Alexander, Be-IT Resourcing

Comments

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Posted on Sunday, October 23, 2016 21:51 by Kindsey
Hi - at least the Scottish exam is Computer coding based, which I think the English ICT one wasn't.
However I have it on good authority that certain University computing depts tried to get "computational thinking" to be a Core Skill in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, and failed. My son is currently studying Computing which I am glad about, but there are not that many teachers and the only other subject he wanted to do, among those on offer at his school for 3rd year, was Graphic Communications. Now this would have gone well with his Computing but they are all lumped together in the Technologies column, so you can only choose one of those. It is probably not the same in all schools, but teacher shortages in these areas might well mean similar problems elsewhere. So of the 9 subjects he has taken, 2 were required, 4 were his choice, and 3 were not his choice but had to be taken, although with two of those he is not too against taking them. But really it is a shame as it seems to me that the curriculum choice does seem to go against those taking Engineering, IT, Design type choices - exactly what the country needs as well !
Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2016 21:11 by Jennifer Wilson

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