UK Government ‘step forward for computer science’ welcomed by Abertay University

The UK Government has made “a positive step forward for computer science” in its official response to the Next Gen report, the University of Abertay Dundee said today.

In the document from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Government commits itself to “working with Next Gen Skills, educators and others to develop an attractive computer science offering for schools”.

The Next Gen report into the UK’s video games and visual effects industries recommended earlier this year that computer science be introduced as a core part of school education.

Its recommendations also included introducing Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital model of workplace simulation into university courses across the UK, which the Government today endorsed.

Dr Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Today the UK Government has made a positive step forward for computer science by recognising its importance for the nation’s future economic development.

“Computer games and visual effects are high-growth, high-value industries with the potential to drive Britain forward, increasing investment and exports, and repositioning the UK as one of the world’s most creative nations.

“However, without school children being excited about computer science – and being encouraged to study art, maths and science side-by-side – we are at risk of falling further behind.”

The Government’s response praises Abertay University’s ongoing work to make degrees industry-relevant, its work with the BAFTA Young Games Designers competition, and its Prototype Fund for investment in new companies and giving graduates valuable work experience.

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay, added: “Action is needed right across the UK, from educators, industry and both the UK and Scottish Governments.

“The Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence is, for instance, an excellent opportunity to teach subjects like art and computer science together.

“We need to see today’s positive step forward continue, with real support continuing to come from both the UK and Scottish Governments.”

The Next Gen report by creative industries experts Ian Livingstone and Alex Hope was commissioned by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, in July 2010.

They were tasked to produce an independent report into the skills needed for the UK to thrive as a world-class centre for the computer games and visual effects industries.

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The full response is available at http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/news_stories/8650.aspx

For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Officer) – T: 01382 308935 M: 07837 250284 E: chris.wilson@abertay.ac.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS

Selected extracts from the response:

3. The economic and cultural value of the UK’s video games and VFX sectors is clear and the long-term potential of their global markets present a great opportunity for UK-based businesses.

4. Video games and VFX businesses are typically knowledge-intensive, high value and offer high quality jobs. They are a good fit for our aims to rebalance the economy.

9. […] The Government looks forward to working with Next Gen Skills, educators and others to develop an attractive computer science offering for schools, so that students are able to develop the rigorous skills needed – not only to support these industries but also to ensure a digitally literate citizenry.

Recommendation 15: Develop a template for introducing workplace simulation into industry-accredited video games and visual effects courses, based on Abertay University’s Dare to be Digital competition.

66. Government welcomes this recommendation and recognises the activity already in evidence, particularly with regards to Abertay University and the Dare to be Digital competition.

About Abertay:

Abertay University launched the world’s first computer games technology degree in 1997 and runs the UK Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education.

Its courses include the Professional Masters in Games Development, an advanced professional practice qualification which has very strong international competition for places.

Out of the ten Skillset industry accreditations for computer games and computer arts degrees across the UK, Abertay University holds four. It is the only institution to hold more than one.  


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