The government has confirmed its intention to remove ICT teaching from the education curriculum for two years much to the dismay of IT education specialists.
The plans to postpone the teaching of IT were first unveiled in January as the government works towards the creation of a new syllabus more suited to the modern era of technology, which will be introduced in 2014.
This raised concerns from industry that it would set-back the teaching of IT even further. However, the Department of Education (DoE) confirmed on Monday it would be proceeding as planned, with IT teaching run by schools on an individual basis.
"In this interim period, schools will still be required to teach ICT to pupils at all key stages but teachers will have the flexibility to decide what is best for their pupils without central government prescription," it said.
Although this means schools can teach any aspect of IT they wish, it is likely most will stick to the existing curriculum while pupils that wish to sit the GCSE in IT will also be able to do so as normal.
However, the decision has caused much consternation among IT chiefs, with members of The Corporate IT Forum Education and Skills Commission criticising the decision as "effectively condemning large numbers of children to receiving little or no ICT teaching at all".
Commission chairman John Harris, who is also head of IT strategy at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, said the lack of any official programme of teaching made a bad situation even worse.
"We agree that the current ICT curriculum is failing to meet the needs of employers and should be improved as a matter of urgency," he said.
"We are extremely concerned that the absence of a programme of study or attainment targets for any period of time will widen the gap between the best and worst ICT teaching in schools to an unacceptable level."
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