Don’t (British) girls want to code?

Among the debates about the UK’s futures is how to ensure that there are enough high wage jobs and skilled labour to perform them for our future. The need for effectively skilled people today & tomorrow requires a clear education and skills supply policy. Furthermore there is a lack of clarity as to where these jobs might come from, with some arguing that we need to ‘rebalance’ the economy, usually away from the financial services industry, others that we need stronger copyright laws in order to allow our ‘creative’ industries to grow. Carlotta Perez and her acolytes, with others suggest that the IT revolution is not over and that it and its multiplier effects are the source of future work and wealth.

Belinda Parmar writes in the New Statesman, about young girls approach to learning about IT and planning to work in it. It would seem that too much attention is being paid to the negative aspects of the Big Bang Theory and the IT Crowd, with Parmar’s sources saying that they had no wish to work in IT. Parmar’s article starts by quoting Martha Lane Fox, the previous Government digital champion with a forecast of needing 1 million jobs within six years. Parmar rightly criticises the old IT skills curriculum since it was pretty exclusively aimed at using Microsoft packages and thus preparation for junior and by the time they enter work obsolete jobs. Education needs to be for life and IT needs to offer an attractive career to both men and women. A new curriculum has been developed which will be rolled out in Sept this year. It’s impact will only be known in the future, its designers hope that the re-establishment of computer science at the heart of the curriculum will make the subject more economically relevant and more socially useful. It’s a fact that the old curriculum wasn’t good enough and let children and society down.

ooOOOoo

Business have criticised the new curriculum as insufficiently skills focused.

While checking out the Computing at Schools site and materials, I discovered that Mile Berry, who blogs here was a member of the working party who developed the new curriculum. He and I met at Kable’s Open Source in the Public Sector 2009 conference, at which we both spoke. I used my then Sun blog to capture/publish my notes, and have created a version of these notes on this blog in articles called, Open Source in the Public Sector and Are liberal licenses a better futire proofing. If you want to see the originals, they are here, in reverse order:

  • Are liberal licenses a better future proofing?
  • Another intra-net community, about Miles’ presentation
  • You don’t manufacture software
  • The Third Wave of Adoption, my notes on what I said. Several of the hyperlinks in this article are now irreparably broken; I should bring it across to this blog.
  • Implementing Open Source
  • The importance of Open Source
  • Tube across Europe

So what are they avoiding, the Big Bang theory

and the IT crowd,

While looking for a quote from Martha Lane Fox on the jobs forecast, I found this video clip where she talks about digital exclusion and economics & education and how to change things

ooOOOoo

The featured picture was used as part of a THES feature, How to switch on the IT girls, where they argue that tBBT is a turn off to women because the guys are so unattractive. I think they’re missing part of the show’s dimension in particular the parts of Bernadette and Amy and the title of the article is not exactly a feminist mantra!

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