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Should Computer Science be made mandatory at GCSE level?

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by Startacus Admin

computer scienceStartacus co-founder, Alastair Cameron pondered on this very point on LinkedIn last week, and so we thought wise to continue to ask the question.

Should Computer Science be made mandatory at GCSE level as a qualification? 

In the UK, there were apparently more than 5 million GCSE entries across all subjects in 2017, and of those Computing / ICT made up only 67,800 of those entries.

At the same time, we constantly hear that we should aim to have a high-skilled workforce to service the growing digital & tech economy and also aim to have an an economy that school leavers can find employment in. Those working in the tech sector, both at the coal face, or those who are involved in recruitment, will often tell you that it can be really tough to find skilled Computing / tech workers  in the UK. Even those at graduate level may have little or no work experience. We are also frequently hearing about how skilled Tech workers from the EU are either considering to leave, or in the process of leaving the UK, due to the uncertainty of BREXIT and the impact that it may have on both their job prospects and even their residency in the UK. 

So, are we perhaps just sleepwalking into a situation where we promise to build a high-skilled workforce and buoyant digital economy and then we don't have the technical talent to fill the jobs to service that economy?

Making computer science mandatory at GCSE level would surely be a wise move - it's not necessarily always about giving young adults choice at this education level, but more about giving them the best tools and skills to succeed in the long term. After all, having more GCSE level students learning the basics of computing, will in turn lead to more young adults considering computing and coding at A Level, University and beyond. No? 

Just a thought.

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Published on: 30th June 2017

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