As the General Election looms ever closer, the CSSA (Computer Software and Services Association) and database giant Oracle are preparing to unveil an IT Manifesto.
The CSSA and Oracle will meet today at Whitehall, to announce their 10-point IT Manifesto at a press conference. The two companies will also reveal research findings which they say highlight the extent of the gap that now exists between the UK and the rest of the world in its adoption and exploitation of IT.
Oracle's managing director, Philip Crawford, who is due to speak at the meeting, said: "The IT Manifesto is essential because of IT's visibility and influence. IT is the fourth largest industry in the world and the fastest growing. We believe it is too low on the political agenda."
Education is expected to feature prominently. Crawford said that IT is not a formal part of education in schools, but that if students left school with basic IT skills such as word processing, Email and Web browsing, it would save UK plcs a considerable amount of time and effort.
Crawford believes the root of the problem is a lack of adequate training for teachers, particularly in primary schools. "The average number of PCs in primary schools is 10. There is simply no way everyone can access the machines," he said.
However, Crawford does not believe the solution is to put PCs everywhere, at least not yet. "The fact is, even if it were possible, the infrastructure is not there. It's a bit like dropping a car round to a house where no one can drive."
Will Cappelli, principal consultant at Ovum, believes children should be taught how to program and reason with computers from an early age.
"It is perfectly plausible for people to pickup basic computer usage like Email. But, it is far more difficult for them to learn spreadsheets and how to solve problems with computers."
A separate report by researcher IDC, Business Strategies for IT Training and Education Services, also highlights a lack of IT skills.
- See Leader page 22.
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