‘Information and communications technology’ lessons in their current form should be dropped from the UK’s national curriculum, according to trade association Intellect.
The body said ICT lessons are too focussed on specific software packages, and should be replaced with "lessons that focus on higher value computer science skills".
"Take up of ICT courses is falling [a]nd the basic ICT skills being generated by the education system are not meeting the needs of pupils or their potential employers," said Intellect’s education programme manager John Hoggard in a statement. "Our member companies tell us that they often have to spend considerable time up-skilling employees as a result of the current ICT teaching."
When Information Age spoke to some entrants into the UK’s Cyber Security Challenge recently, they were not complementary about the state of IT education in the country.
One university student said his A-level course had been "a failure". “In one lesson, our teacher asked us how to find the YouTube website,” he said.
Another entrant said his undergraduate computer science course had been too focussed on certain technologies, specifically the Java programming language. "There’s no point learning a language if the [popular programming] language is going to change.”
However, not everyone will agree that moving the ICT curriculum towards more abstract computer science topics is the way forward. A common complaint about computer science graduates from employers is that they do no have enough practical experience with the systems that businesses use.