Subsidise tuition fees for students who study mathematics andcomputer science at degree level, says Tiga

For immediate release - August 14th 2008

Tiga, the trade association that represents games developers throughout the UK, said that the Government must encourage more students with good A-level grades in mathematics and computer science to study these subjects at university. Tiga recommended that the Government introduce a pilot programme whereby the tuition fees for students studying these subjects be reduced. Tiga made its recommendation in advance of the publication of this year’s A-level results, on Friday August 15th.

Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga, said:

“The UK games development sector relies on highly creative, technical people with skills and qualifications in areas such as design, programming, artificial intelligence, animation and mathematics. Approximately two-thirds of games development employees are qualified to first degree or the vocational equivalent. Some games developers employ an even higher proportion of graduates. For example, 81% of Rebellion’s employees are qualified to degree level.

“However, the video games industry and others are desperate for good quality mathematics graduates and computer programmers. The Government should introduce a pilot programme whereby the tuition fees for students studying mathematics and computer science at university are reduced. This would give a strong incentive to study these courses at university.“The scheme should be piloted and a cost/benefit analysis undertaken before a decision is taken whether to make the scheme permanent or not. If successful, a similar pilot could be applied to other science and technology disciplines after thorough cost/benefit analyses.”

Richard Wilson concluded:

“The UK video games industry employs a highly qualified and experienced workforce. It constitutes a key competitive advantage for the UK development sector. If we can encourage more of this year’s successful mathematics and computer science A-level students to study these subjects in higher education, the UK games industry should have access to a greater pool of high quality potential recruits, thereby strengthening the industry’s competitive position.”

End

Notes to editors:

1. Tiga is the national trade association that represents games developers in the UK and in Europe. We have 157 members, the majority of whom are games developers, but we also have outsourcing companies and technology businesses as members who provide services to games developers.

2. Tiga’s vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. We work to achieve this goal in two ways. Firstly, Tiga aims to influence the Government, political parties, the media and other relevant stakeholders to introduce and support policies favourable to the video games industry. Secondly, Tiga provides a range of benefits and services which serve to reduce costs, enhance commercial opportunities and strengthen the overall competitiveness of our members.

3. The number of people taking A-level Computing fell from 6,233 in 2006 to 5,610 in 2007. The number of students taking A-level Information and Communication Technology declined from 14,208 to 13,360 over the same period. See http://www.computing.co.uk/computing/news/2196783/level-results

4. According to the Royal Society, the number of pupils taking A-levels in mathematics declined by 22% between 1991 and2005. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/jul/01/schools.alevels

5. There has been a fall in the UK’s undergraduate student population studying computer science since 2003-4. There has been an increase in the UK’s undergraduate student numbers studying mathematical sciences since 2000-01, but from a low base. See Engineering UK 2007. A Statistical Guide to Labour Supply and Demand in Science, Engineering and Technology (Engineering Technology Board), December 2007, p. 34.

6. For further information, please contact: Dr Richard Wilson, Tiga CEO on: 0845 0941095; Mob: 07875 939643; or: Email: richard.wilson@tiga.org.


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