Home Government Tech Policy Budget short on funding to address ICT skills gap: ACS

Budget short on funding to address ICT skills gap: ACS

The Australian Computer Society says the budget falls short in providing sufficient funds to address the ICT skills gap and wants the federal government to allocate more funding to overcome the problem.

The ACS, while welcoming the government’s commitment to the digital economy, says there’s a need for funding for schools at a time when the performance of Australian students in science and maths is declining.

And it supports a stronger focus on building digital skills and digital literacy in Australian classrooms.

“This must be a critical economic and policy priority, especially when STEM is associated with 75% of the fastest growing occupations, innovations and wage premiums,” ACS president Anthony Wong said.

“The ACS is supportive of the government’s introduction of needs-based funding for Australian schools, as outlined in the Quality Schools reforms package, which includes $242.3 billion in recurrent funding to schools over the next decade.

“We also welcome the new Gonski-led Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools to provide advice on how this funding should be used to improve student achievement and performance.”

Wong pointed that the ACS, as part of its pre-dudget recommendations to the federal government proposed a grassroots National ICT Educators Programme.  

The program is designed to boost the capacity of Australian school teachers implementing the Digital Technologies (DT) curriculum, with the aim of better engaging students in STEM and improving their performance.

Wong said the ACS saw the programme as essential if Australia is to fill future skills gaps of nearly 67,000 ICT workers by 2020.

“As a longstanding advocate in this space, the ACS has actively raised concerns about the critical need to address Australia’s ICT skills shortages to meet future skills demand.

“This is alongside the need to boost ICT enrolments and completions where currently graduates represent only 1% of the ICT workforce.

“The ACS looks forward to working with the government to place a high priority on achieving these outcomes.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).