£3m investment in Computer Science and Digital Literacy in Wales

November 13, 2012 at 7:20 am 4 comments

New Zealand, Denmark, Israel, Computing at Schools England, and CS10K here in the US — there is a growing movement to improve computing education at the national level. Wales just announced a large investment to improve computing education there, too.

Computer science touches upon all three of my education priorities: literacy, numeracy and bridging the gap. It equips learners with the problem-solving skills so important in life and work.

The value of computational thinking, problem-solving skills and information literacy is huge, across all subjects in the curriculum. I therefore believe that every child should have the opportunity to learn concepts and principles from computer science.

Indeed, computing is a high priority area for growth in Wales. The future supply and demand for science, technology and mathematics graduates is essential if Wales is to compete in the global economy.

It is therefore vitally important that every child in Wales has the opportunity to study computer science between the ages of 11-16.

via £3m investment in Computer Science and Digital Literacy in Wales « Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Neil Brown  |  November 13, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Allow me to be the Brit that points out that Computing At School is for the whole of the UK, not just England. (Roughly speaking, as a US analogy, think of Wales and England as states in the UK.)

    Reply
    • 2. Mark Guzdial  |  November 13, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Hi Neil! Thanks for the explanation, but that actually confuses me more. Quintin’s comment awhile back suggested that the teacher training program that BBC announced (which I thought was CAS-related) was for England only. I’m not really getting which parts apply to all of the UK, and which are just England, just Wales, or just Scotland. Is it that CAS is for all of UK, but some initiatives (like the new training program, and the Welsh announcement) are for specific parts?

      Reply
      • 3. Neil Brown  |  November 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

        It’s certainly confusing. The UK has four main constituent parts: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland. There is an overall UK parliament, but there are also devolved parliaments for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (but not England). These parliaments have some control over policy and public spending. The programme you’re featuring here is Welsh spending on Welsh computing teaching, so it literally doesn’t affect the rest of the UK. I believe that the teacher-training programme announced earlier is technically for the whole of UK, but because Scotland have chosen to have/keep a slightly different education system, the programme is not applicable (but I may be wrong on that point). While the two initiatives may have to some extent been prodded along or triggered by CAS, they are government driven and government funded — CAS is just a lobby group in this situation.

        Meanwhile, the CAS structure somewhat mirrors the UK. There is one overall CAS organisation, which is for the whole of the UK. But since Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland may require different measures (esp. since their education systems may be slightly different to England, and because there are separate parliaments who may need to be lobbied), there are subsections who are specifically interested in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland (but we don’t have a section for England, as that’s in the catch-all of CAS for the UK as a whole — mirroring the parliaments!). But it is all definitely one CAS organisation.

        Erm, hope that lengthy explanation helps to clarify…

        Reply
        • 4. Tom  |  November 13, 2012 at 4:01 pm

          Very nice summary by Neil, but Mark is right on one point — the recently announced funding for initial teacher training in computer science is England-only (although somewhat confusingly, the headline of the official news item is: “New industry-backed plans to boost computer science teaching and help Britain compete in the world“). Education policy is devolved to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, who each have to decide how to fund initial teacher training. This is why, as it currently stands, the CAS/BCS Network of Computer Science Teaching Excellence is technically England-only, due to the majority of the funding coming from the Department of Education for “capacity-building” in England. Which can be frustrating for the CAS community, who may see significant advantages and benefits going to colleagues “across the border”.

          Tom
          (Chair, CAS Wales)

          Reply

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