U.K. (just like US) Students Not Lining Up To Study IT

February 21, 2013 at 5:52 am 3 comments

I hear all the time about the decline of interest in computing among high school students in the US.  Not surprising, but still disappointing, to see that the problem is also in the UK.

Between now and 2020, according to an October report from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the U.K. will need 10,000 more new graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) each year just to fill current employment needs.

It’s difficult to see where they’re going to come from, especially in tech, judging from January data from the U.K Department for Education. Only 3,420 British students, or 0.4%, took a computer science A-level (similar to a U.S. high school diploma) in 2011-12, compared to a high of 12,529 in 1998.

The gender gap is another concern here, as a mere 7% — 255 total — of computing A-level students were female in the 2011-12 school year.

via U.K. Students Not Lining Up To Study IT – Education – K-12 -.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Neil Brown  |  February 21, 2013 at 6:14 am

    These figures refer to the Computing A-Level (taken aged 16-18 as part of optional further education), which has been in decline for many years. All the recent developments regarding computing in the UK have involved the new GCSEs (taken 14-16) or the national curriculum (focused on 5-14). I would expect that the Computing GCSEs are likely to have at least some effect on the A-Level, starting in the next year or two — but the only problem is that many sixth forms (16-18 FE) do not offer the A-Level due to the decline, so it may take a while to start up again. Plus, the A-Levels probably need a refresh in light of all the developments.

    Reply
  • 2. alanone1  |  February 21, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Hi Mark

    Well, in any area, there are real difficulties, and two main kinds of gratuitous difficulties (1) those from poor pedagogy and teaching, and (2) those from poor design and practice within the field.

    I think the real difficulties are numerous enough to be a bit daunting — they are starting to get to the level of the “real sciences” like Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, and of “real engineering”. But these can be lots of fun and very satisfying to learn.

    The gratuitous difficulties of generally bad — even ridiculous — architectures and practice that are willy-nilly sifted into most systems today, and hence, most curricula, are the real killers I think.

    Good teachers who are also real practitioners could sift the good out from the bad, and that would encourage many students. But there is little evidence that most teachers are “good”.

    For what little it is worth, I certainly would not choose computing today if I were a high schooler or undergraduate. (It’s pretty ugly to look at without a real guide of some kind.)

    Cheers,

    Alan

    Reply
  • 3. jamharl  |  August 28, 2013 at 6:55 am

    well, I just hope the young ones will change their minds and choose to learn and study IT

    Reply

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