Microsoft has told V3 it backs the proposed computing curriculum for school pupils put forward by the government as an important step forward for improving the teaching of IT in the UK.
The government-proposed curriculum is heavily focussed on computer science, and is set to replace the old ICT curriculum that was removed from schools in September last year after it was deemed unfit for purpose.
The Department for Education (DfE) recently held a one-month public consultation on the contents of the computing curriculum but has yet to comment on how much the consultation will impact its proposals.
Steve Beswick, education director at Microsoft, told V3 he remains very pleased with the computer science content proposed by the government.
"At Microsoft, we're delighted to see a shift towards a national curriculum that acknowledges the importance of computing and computer science in particular," he said.
"We have been calling computer science the ‘fourth science' for some time now and we are very pleased that the Government acknowledges the importance of developing grassroots interest in computing in schools
"We felt that the consultation process undertaken by the DfE was really worthwhile."
However, critics of the proposed government computing curriculum have complained about the expanded topic focus, lack of creativity and the fact that it is weighted too heavily towards computer science, with other areas of computing, such as digital literacy, being deprived of attention.
John McGlinchey, European vice president of CompTIA, further cautioned the government on its proposals to prioritise computer science aspects like programming to such an extent in the curriculum.
"One casualty of this otherwise very positive development is that a lot of commentators seem set on turning IT into programming. Clearly the old IT curriculum was inadequate, and we welcome more diversity, but this shouldn't be at the cost of teaching how IT works altogether," he said.
"Making apps is all very well, but the entire world relies on IT systems and networks and we need to teach how these work. This is exciting, hands-on stuff, which we at CompTIA see students enjoying learning every day. And it's an area where there are many thousands of rewarding, well paid, unfilled jobs. Not giving students the skills to fill these would be a huge wasted opportunity."
V3 is currently running a Make IT better campaign to improve computing learning in schools.
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