IT skills trade association CompTIA has said the fate of the UK's new computing curriculum will rely as much on teachers convincing youngsters of the benefits and excitement of IT as the government introducing the new teaching regime.
Speaking to V3, senior CompTIA executives also said that more specific targets about how the curriculum is taught should be introduced.
CEO Todd Thibodeaux said while the new curriculum was vital, a change in attitude towards IT, lead by the teachers in the classrooms, was central to its success.
"The kids have to be excited about it. You have to communicate earlier in the process to kids about what the opportunities are [in IT] and what sort of salaries you get, and the work environment.
"We focus so much on the working and training, they don't get excited about it."
Thibodeaux acknowledged, though, that providing adequate training for teachers was important to in order to achieve this: "If they want to make one big change, I would certainly suggest doing much more on training the teachers."
The comments echo those made by Raspberry Pi last week when its director of education questioned whether the Department for Education was taking the challenge seriously. He added that CompTIA figures showed that teachers have a significant impact on the results computing students achieve.
Regarding the new curriculum itself, CompTIA vice president for Europe, Lucy Ireland, said the organisation would have liked to have had more input into the initial planning of the curriculum, which was dominated by BCS and big tech firms such as Google and Microsoft.
"There were a number of consultation meetings that took place and I think that maybe there was an issue on our part with not being at the right place at the right time," she said. "Equally, I think some of the consultation requires you to be very embedded in the process before they start, which is a bit chicken and egg and can be a bit difficult."
She said CompTIA had "just missed the boat" on the initial introduction of the computing curriculum, but said the association is working closely with many other organisations encouraging skill-building activities such as apprenticeships.
The syllabus for the computing curriculum is fairly broad, giving teachers a fair amount of flexibility in how they teach their lessons.
Asked what CompTIA would like to see in the new curriculum, Ireland said: "We need to make sure people are enthused and engaged by IT. While we want good learning outcomes that have an end goal of making people employable, we also don't want to put people into the situation we have in the past, where ICT was all about desktop computing, which turned people off."
The need for a new generation of tech savvy youngsters is key to the government, as it launches several campaigns to encourage children to learn IT skills, although this has run in difficulties. Vendors are also pushing efforts to teach key IT skills.
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