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Make IT Better: Education advisor Roger Broadie worried teachers' voice lost in ICT reform debate

30 Nov 2012

ICT education advisor Roger Broadie The government is giving priority to the views of industry at the expense of teachers in its current ICT curriculum reforms, warns ICT education advisor Roger Broadie.

Broadie also argues that there is current bias amongst reformers toward the discipline of computer science at the expense of more technical IT learning, like that of infrastructure support and development.

The current ICT curriculum in schools is being overhauled by the government to make it more relevant to students.

The Department for Education asked the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) to put forward a first draft of the new curriculum, with the help of other stakeholders. This draft of the curriculum is now completed and is in the hands of the DFE.

Broadie says the problem is that many of the professionals who were consulted by the BCS and the RAEng are members of IT firms, such as Google and Microsoft, rather than school ICT teachers.

These IT firms were involved in this consultation, he explains, because they are key members of education organisations like the Next Generation Skills Group.

"The government, by choosing to give responsibility to these bodies, rather than a balance of school teachers, is creating a danger that specific people will not have enough sway," says Broadie.

"There has actually been a huge amount of discussion on how to reform the curriculum. The issue is that politicians are not listening properly. They are only listening to the industry side, and so are getting a partial view."

Broadie has 25 years of experience working in ICT education. After training as an electronics engineer, he worked in television production and then as a teacher.

Broadie runs his own independent ICT education consultancy company and sits on the Naace Board of Management, as well as holding a number of management positions at organisations working to improve ICT education.

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