With lightning speed the government has joined in the general disrespecting of ICT teaching and teachers and is now in the process of removing the statutory obligation to teach ICT (technically this is to dis-apply), withdrawing the syllabus... and for good measure they have abolished the unit that guided ICT development in schools: no not Becta that was last year, this one is the Technology Policy Unit.
Never fear upgraded ‘computing’ syllabuses are waiting in the wings and these will be much more rigorous (harder) and should contain some programming which will be great if schools ever get their hands on the Raspberrys.
What follows from these decisive and popular knee-Gove reactions?
It’s very simple, within two years there will be almost no ICT/Computing teaching in secondary schools.
I know this for the following reasons:
1. When Modern Foreign Languages were dis-applied their uptake fell year after year until now in state-funded schools they hardly exist.
Why were they made optional? They were deemed ‘hard’ and so did not help the pass-rate figures and qualified teachers were hard to find.
2. ICT will be dis-applied and ‘new ICT’ will become much ‘harder’.
This means that taking ICT will be much higher risk for those schools with an eye to the performance tables, there will be only a handful of teachers able to deliver the subject and you don’t have to do it anyway... does this sound familiar?
3. With the best will in the world there will be a substantial hiatus between the old and the new ICT. Into this gap will pour all sorts of school-related stuff (extra maths?) and the space will be gone for good.
4. The only reason that there was ICT teaching in schools in the first place was because the Government made them do it.
I rest my case. What we have to decide is not whether I am right, because I am, but how we feel about this.
The old ICT was, at its worst, little more than MS Office training, but had this some merit even so?
The new ICT will become, like French, a minority subject: do we mind this or should it be for all?
Many teachers will lose their jobs but were they just rubbish anyway so good riddance?
Schools will almost certainly de-train students and staff; a computer facility will mean merely an internet connection as it does for most of the population. The technicians will nearly all quietly fade away and the last 20 years will be but a scary dream.
I predicted all of this five years ago but it happened rather even more quickly than I thought it would.
RIP ICT 2012