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Include computer science in the EBacc, urges Cerf

News | Rigorous computer science | Qualification | BCS

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One of the founding fathers of the internet has backed calls for computer science to be included in the new English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

Vint Cerf, vice-president and chief internet evangelist for Google, claimed that all students should be offered the chance to gain a rigorous computer science qualification before they leave school.

He said the government could make this happen by promoting the discipline as it reforms secondary education in the UK.

Mr Cerf, a distinguished fellow at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, claimed that computer science is "as important for the future success of their students as other scientific subjects such as maths or physics".

"There are now rigorous GCSEs in computer science, a new ICT curriculum is being developed at the request of the Department for Education (DfE) that has computer science at its heart, there are new DfE scholarships for trainee computer science teachers and there is a new Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science starting to link schools with universities to develop CPD for teachers," he stated.

"But despite this phenomenal progress, computer science in school is still embryonic and vulnerable.”

BCS continues to champion computer science

BCS recently published a new report making the case for more IT education.

The paper, entitled 'The case for computer science as an option in the English Baccalaureate', argues that some of the new GCSEs in computer science require a higher degree of intellectual depth to achieve grade C than is required by some physics GCSEs.

BCS believes there is a real risk that all the work done to ensure computer science is included in the curriculum could be in danger if the subject is not included in the EBacc.

Bill Mitchell, director of the BCS Academy of Computing, said so much has been put into place to generate interest in the subject and support its development in schools that to not include it in the EBacc poses "a real risk".

“The EBacc school performance measure is having a significant effect on what schools focus on, with the number of pupils enrolled on EBacc subjects having doubled from 22 per cent in 2010 to 47 per cent in 2011.

"Many headteachers in private say although they approve of computer science in principle, they will not willingly give it room in the GCSE timetable unless it becomes an EBacc subject.”


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 10th December 2012

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