Where will we get all these new computer science experts? Private tutoring agency, Tutors International, welcome the Government's decision to axe ICT, but are concerned that they may be over-reaching.
Tutors International, who place high-calibre homeschool tutors with families around the world, announced their support of Education Secretary, Michael Gove's decision to attract Computer Science graduates as replacements for ICT teachers, but are concerned that the numbers of UK CS graduates will never to be enough to supply our workforce and our schools.
In January 2012, Mr Gove called to axe IT (Information and Communications Technology) teaching training courses, calling ICT lessons "demotivating and dull". Now the UK Government propose to offer a £20,000 'Golden Handshake' to high-flying graduates to train as computer science teachers , bringing more challenging lessons in computer programming and app development into the classroom.
Prof Steve Furber of the Royal Society said the number of new computer science teachers was small and would go only part of the way to solving the problem. Ideally, he said, he would like to see one or two computer science teachers in each of England's 4,200 secondary schools.
But with 500 ICT teachers prepped to re-train, and just 50 scholarship places for Computer Science graduates, Adam Caller, who founded Tutors International in 1999, suggests we turn to India and China to fill the shortfall. "The only countries currently turning out huge numbers of excellent computer science graduates are places like India and China, and they have been for a while. Britain just doesn't have the capacity to turn around the whole ICT curriculum in schools."
Mr Caller, who is also a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, commented, "Like Mr Gove, I believe computer science is vital to our curriculum. It is like learning any other language - challenging, fascinating, and immensely useful to both individuals, and for our country to compete with the rest of the world in the digital age. There is still a place for learning how to use Word, or create a presentation or a spreadsheet; how to format a document correctly, how to check for spelling and grammar mistakes, and basic troubleshooting, but that place is in Maths, Science, and History lessons. Using basic computer programs should be interwoven with the rest of the curriculum."