Call to revamp IT studies in schools in Wales

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Media captionICT is no longer regarded as relevant for the future, said the report

A subject called "computing" should be created to replace information and communications technology (ICT) in school, a report suggests.

ICT is no longer regarded as relevant for the future, the report by a steering group says.

It said its replacement should encourage creativity, develop real-life problem solving and be flexible enough to evolve to stay current.

Education Minister Huw Lewis called the report detailed and thorough.

The report also suggested grouping computing with the three main science subjects.

"A career in IT typically involves some degree of logic, creativity, com­munication and collaboration, managing uncertainty, and problem solving," the report said.

"This is at odds with the current ICT curriculum that is prescriptive, outdated and documentation heavy, focusing on the consumption rather than cre­ation of software and digital content."

It added: "We feel strongly that ICT has lost its meaning and become synonymous with word processing and spreadsheets.

"By renaming and rebranding it as computing as part of a new curriculum we will have an opportunity to improve these perceptions."

The new subject would be broken down into two areas - computer science and information technology.

Computer science would include the academic side and encompass programming, while information technology would focus on the use of computers in industry, commerce, arts and elsewhere.

The report, prepared by an independent steering group chaired by Stuart Arthur from software experts Box UK, recommended computing should be designed with input from the industry and have an online assessment tool.

It also added that digital literacy - the general ability to use computers - should start in primary school when pupils are five years old.

'Digital economy'

"We should equip children with the skills and empower them with the knowl­edge and confidence to become innovative digital creators, effective digital citizens and successful entrepreneurs so they can take advantage of the global growth opportunities that exist in the digital economy and beyond," the authors said.

"We have a unique opportunity to learn from the challenges identified in this report and aspire to become truly world class, not just by delivering a digital Wales but by becoming a world leader in computing and digital skills.

"It is essential to empower our children by giving them the skills required to con­tribute to the rapidly growing digital economy."

Education Minister Huw Lewis said: "ICT in Wales is global and dynamic and I want Welsh learners to be given opportunities to develop the skills required to work in and contribute to the sector.

"We have concerns that fewer Welsh learners are seeing the value in pursuing a career in ICT and that many learners, as well as the wider public, perceive learning about computing in a negative way.

"It's therefore of great importance what is currently being taught is relevant to the global economy of the future.

"We will now take time to consider the report's findings in the context of our wider review of assessment and the national curriculum."

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