Games industry piles on pressure for education reform

Michael French
Games industry piles on pressure for education reform

The government has admitted the way schools teach computing is flawed – now the UKIE-backed Next Gen Skills campaign wants games firms to help change the National Curriculum.

Earlier this week, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)?published a response to the Livingstone-Hope Next Gen report, which criticised how computing is taught in schools, and lobbied for changes to be made so the next generation of games designers are home-grown talents.

The report was written by Eidos’ Ian Livingstone and Double Negative MD Alex Hope.

Much of the games and special effects industries’ disappointment with how computing is taught in schools stems from the fact all lessons are for ICT – information computer technology – which teaches students how to use applications like Excel, not how computers actually work.

The Livingstone-Hope review wants more technical computer science taught.

The DCMS confessed education is “insufficiently rigorous” when it comes to computing and that it would work with the industry to make computer science teaching available to schools. Livingstone and Hope this week kick-started the Next Gen Skills campaign to make the message go wider.

Google and Microsoft have already joined UKIE’s member companies in supporting it – and at Monday’s launch Facebook publicly declared its interest.

“There are computers in our classrooms but they are not used effectively,” said Livingstone. “ICT is to computer science what reading is to writing,” he added, saying children should be taught ‘how to make apps as well as use apps’.

“In a world where the computer defines so much about us this is essential 21st Century knowledge.”

Livingstone and Hope want more companies to join up.

“We’re working for a common good, and we’ve collaborated in a 21st Century way to make this happen,” said Livingstone. VFX veteran Hope, added: “We’re trying to form a coalition that gets this message across to government. We want the companies that join us to keep the dialogue in the public eye.”

UKIE has appointed a campaign manager to maintain the momentum, Theo Blackwell. Companies wishing to join the NextGen Skills campaign can reach him on theo.blackwell@nextgenskills.com or via 0207 534 0597.

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Tags: government , review , skills , livingstone hope

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1 comment

It's heartening to see NextGenSkills seize this chance to capitalise on the weakness of the UK Gov response to Livingstone-Hope. Without this continued pressure, and invlolving Educators who are also in conflict with DfE and ready for the Fight, nothing will change. To quote an iconic game hero, it's time to finish this fight.

Mike Reddy

Mike Reddy INDUSTRY
Dec 5th 2011 at 3:00PM

0 0