Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chairman Eric Schmidt has blasted the UK's education system. It's failing students, by not teaching them how to program computers, he says. Why has the land that invented computers, and many other technical innovations, not capitalised on them?
- On the one hand, he's absolutely right; fewer and fewer kids today are opting for IT and computing.
- On The Other Hand, this could be part of a broader problem, where us geeks aren't seen as valued members of society.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Say Something Nice...
James Robinson reports:
Delivering the annual MacTaggart lecture in Edinburgh, Eric Schmidt...attacked the emergence of two educational camps. ... "To use what I'm told is the local vernacular, you're either a luvvy or a boffin." ... Schmidt also hit out at Lord Sugar...who recently claimed...that "engineers are no good at business."
Schmidt paid tribute...saying the UK had "invented computers in both concept and practice" [and] that the world's first office computer "was built in 1951 by the Lyons chain." ... "You invented photography. You invented TV...[but] none of the world's leading exponents in these fields are from the UK."
Schmidt said the country that invented the computer was "throwing away your...heritage" by failing to teach programming in schools. ... Barack Obama announced in June that the US would train an extra 10,000 engineers a year.
Bobbie Johnson adds:
Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival...the Google chairman lamented the state of computer education in the U.K. and said...[it's] having a long-term impact on the country.
But this is not just a British problem. American media theorist Douglas Rushkoff [says] schools in the U.S. face a similar dilemma. ... [L]ast year, he called out the U.S. education system as a failure in much the same way as Schmidt. ... The standard of computer teaching in America is much worse than Schmidt makes out. ... The reality is that this is a problem for much of the West.
But John Spencer couldn't agree more with the non-evil exec:
Yeah Eric, we know, we know. And you know what? ... Nothing is going to change any time soon. ... [Our] highly feminised educational system...cares not a jot for IT.
However there are signs that students are catching on. ... 2011 is seeing unprecedented applications for university education ahead of the fee increase due in 2012. ... [But] the number of ... [s]econd year...A level...students has dropped very sharply. ... [M]any have headed for the job market...rather than complete the university entrance exam. ... ICT has been particularly affected.
Young people are not stupid...youngsters [think the education] currently on offer in schools does not meet their needs...money, security and a future.
Meanwhile, Tom Brewster thinks of the consequences for IT departments:
No doubt many patriots are seething at...Schmidt’s comments. ... Can we possibly disagree? ... The figures would suggest not.
4,002 students took the computing A Level - only 0.5 per cent of the overall student population. GSCE students taking IT declined from 61,000 to 47,000. ... Where’s our Mark Zuckerburg? Where’s our Bill Gates?
What does all this mean for IT departments though? ... [C]ompanies across the land will suffer from a lack of IT prowess. ... So Schmidt was right. And IT departments should be worried about their future.
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.