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Monday, 13 October 2014 13:15

Industry body says Year 9 too late to learn tech Featured


The Australian Computer Society (ACS) today welcomed the report into the federal government's ACARA curriculum review, but says certain elements are "concerning".

The government today announced it would be launching a review into the national curriculum but the ACS, an assocation for ICT professionals, has said it is concerned with the recommendation that the technologies learning area not be introduced until year 9.

It said in a statement that the recommendation, should it be adopted, would place Australian students at a significant disadvantage against students from the UK, who will be learning technology and ICT from the Foundation level.

The ACS said that given the global nature of the Information & Communications Technology sector, it s it is critical that students are given, at the very least, education in digital literacy, including basic coding, from an early age, so that they are "better prepared for technology education further along in their educational journey."

“It is pleasing to see the report also recognises that better professional development is required for teachers in the technology space," ACS CEO Alan Patterson said. "The ACS argued for this in our submission to the review, and stands ready to assist the Government in providing this additional training.”

"While there is a view that ICT contributes to a crowded curriculum, the ACS will continue to argue that ICT is a fundamental and critical curriculum area that should form the core of the curriculum, along with numeracy and literacy, as the economy and jobs market becomes increasingly digitally focused. 

“While it is good to see improved recognition of technology in the report, it stops short of recommending that students be given a technology education from early in their schooling life. By year 9, students will have already missed critical opportunities to build their digital literacy and capability.

“Just last week the ACS held our Young IT Conference, YITcon, in Melbourne. It was attended by almost 1,000 secondary and tertiary students over two days, and was a demonstration that ICT is a critical part of any education for the future. The overwhelming message from the leading industry experts, innovators and entrepreneurs who appeared at YITcon was that digital education, including basic coding, is an absolute necessity from an early age.

“If we don’t step in today and start providing the right digital education from a young age, we are at risk of having a generation of school leavers who will miss out on the education they need to be the innovators, entrepreneurs and digital leaders of tomorrow. It is these students who will lead the economy in years to come. We owe it to them to give them the very best chance.

“Some of the recommendations are a small step in the right direction, but what our curriculum needs is a giant leap into the future.”

Other recommendations include addressing the identified concerns of an overcrowded curriculum; improving parental engagement around the curriculum; improving accessibility for all students – particularly those with disability; and rebalancing the curriculum – ensuring that a range of views are taught, among others.

iTWire has covered several high school focussed ICT events in 2014, including Go Girl Go for IT and Google's Made with Code program.

Coverage of last week's YITcon event, presented by the ACS, will follow shortly.

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