This month, the UK Prime Minister called for compulsory competitive sport to be included in the National curriculum for all children. As far as I’m concerned, we also need to include ‘competitive’ keyboard skills if we are to protect the future of Britain’s burgeoning IT industries.
I applaud David Cameron’s campaign for competitive sport but we must completely modernise our primary school education system and introduce compulsory ‘competitive’ keyboard skills and computer languages into the National Curriculum if we are to compete internationally.
ICT education in UK schools is based solely on teaching children how to find their way around software. Whereas, what we should be teaching them are the basic principles of programming and coding whereby they will cultivate their own numeric skills as their interest develops.
As if to compound the problem, the Department for Education (DfE) is about to remove Information and Communications Technology (ICT) from the UK schools curriculum next month (for at least a year) whilst new information is considered.
The world-wide-web has truly democratised business opportunity and children who leave school with a knowledge and enthusiasm for computing and computing skills have a very real advantage. As well as handwriting we should focussing on typing skills from an early age. It is astonishing how many high-grade programmers continue to ply their trade with a ham-fisted, two finger technique.
Every child should be given access to a computer, be able to type and have knowledge of basic programming before they leave primary school. As a bear minimum, all youngsters should possess reasonable programming skills by the age of fourteen before they make any career choices.
This country has a massive computing heritage and we have to take steps to preserve it. We should not underestimate the beneficial effect that the BBC computer of the eighties had on our current generation of innovative computer scientists.