Hardly any coders among GCSE ICT entrants despite student increase

Although there was an impressive jump in students taking an ICT GCSE this year, hardly any of them were coding, it has been revealed.

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Although there was an impressive jump in students taking an ICT GCSE this year, hardly any of them were coding, it has been revealed.

There was a 38 percent increase in students taking a full ICT GCSE - the first increase in eight years - but figures obtained by e-skills UK show the figures for the technology-orientated course are "much less rosy".

The Computing GCSE focuses on the science of the discipline, including algorithms and programming, and developing skills in creative problem solving.

Industry analyst Richard Holway, of TechMarketView, said: “GCSE Computing is all about coding and creating stuff - not not using spreadsheets or Powerpoint. It is exactly the kind of course that budding apps developers and young tech entrepreneurs should study.”

But e-skills UK’s analysis of the detailed figures, obtained from the Joint Council for Qualifications, shows that only 4,250 young people entered for the Computing GCSE in 2013.

This represents less than 6 percent of all full-course IT-related GCSEs, and less than 0.1 percent of all GCSEs.

The Joint Council for Qualifications figures widely published last week showed ICT saw a 38 percent increase in the number of entries to 73,487 entries from the 53,197 seen in 2012.

On the specific Computing GCSE figures, said e-skills UK, "even more disappointingly" only 14 percent of the students were female, against 44 percent for an ICT GCSE in general.

While we recognise that it is still relatively early days for this new qualification, it is disappointing to see the uptake amongst girls is so low,” said Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK.

She said: “It mirrors the disturbing situation at A-level and university. We must re-double our efforts to make this an attractive and relevant option for girls.

"We know that young women thrive in IT education and can go on to successful and high-powered careers in the sector, so it’s vital they stay engaged with technology.”



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