OECD Education Report highlights worrying trends

TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, today called on the new Coalition Government to ensure that educational standards in the UK are improved in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the UK economy so that creative industries such as the video games sector can flourish. TIGA made the comments in response to the publication of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD) Education at a Glance 2010 report.

Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:

“If we are to continue to produce outstanding computer games and compete internationally then the UK needs to make sure it has an education system to match. Unfortunately, according to the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2010 report the number of tertiary graduates in the UK for 2008 is lower than the OECD average. This indicator is even more worrying in the context of the results in 2000 when the UK was significantly above the OECD average. If the UK is to compete in the international economy then it needs to arrest this decline.”

“On a more positive note, the UK is still a popular destination for international students. They make up more than 10% of enrolments in tertiary education and the UK, along with Australia, France, Germany and the United States receives more than 50% of all foreign students worldwide. The UK still has some world-class educational establishments, but it needs to ensure that the standard across all institutions remains high. The key to achieving this is expenditure on higher education.”

“The UK also needs to ensure that spending in education is not unduly hit by the Coalition Government’s deficit reduction plan. The UK is already below the OECD average for spending on primary, secondary and tertiary education as a proportion of GDP. It dropped from 6% in 2006 to 5.8% in 2007, with competitor countries, Canada (6.1%), South Korea (7%), France (6.%) and the USA (7.6%) all spending a greater proportion. The UK needs to review both how much it is spending and how it is spending this money to ensure that it delivers the best value for money.”

“The UK cannot afford to be complacent on these issues. TIGA recommends the deployment of stronger financial incentives to attract the top graduates to teach in schools; greater flexibility in the national curriculum to allow schools the freedom to teach subjects such as computer science; and providing information about developing a career in the video games industry to schools, to encourage more young people to stick with science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.”

“In tertiary education, tuition fees for mathematics and computer science students should be reduced to incentivise students to study these disciplines. Encouraging more staff exchanges between business and academia through the use of industrial secondments could also repeat benefits for both sides, including enhancing the quality of UK higher education.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

About TIGA:

TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have games publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA was awarded‘Trade Association of the Year’ and the‘Member Recruitment Award’ at the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards 2010.

TIGA's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We focus on three sets of activities: political representation, generating media coverage and developing services that enhance the competitiveness of our members. This means that TIGA members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.

For further information, please contact Eva Field, TIGA PR Manager on: 07814 039 983, or email eva@tiga.org.


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