Sunday, August 20, 2006

Decline in A-level computing

My parents have recently become readers (of IYTYWNM. They haven't just achieved literacy...) and rang me this morning to tell me about an article in The Independent (who said that old and new media can't work together?) Nestling in one of the articles in the online education section is this bombshell...
The biggest decrease in [A-level] candidates came in computing - down 13.9 per cent.

What? Why? I have been expecting a demise of ICT as a subject at A-level and in schools, but I thought that computing was here to stay. The only thing I can think of is that there has been a corresponding rise in the status of, and number of students on, post-16 vocational computing courses. This would not be a disaster as many of the hardcore vocational courses (such as the BTEC National Diploma for IT Practitioners) are very rigourous. However, if schools are phasing out Computing in favour of more insipid courses such as Applied ICT, I am concerned. The more modern ICT post-sixteen qualifications vere towards graphics and web design, but do not include the artistic theory content of a graphics course. However, they are easier to market. (The same is true of the new Level 3 DiDa qualification, which removes a lot of the spreadsheet and database content in favour of web editing.)

Another thought may be that gifted future programmers might choose to take Maths, Further Maths and Physics, deciding that they could easily teach themselves to program at the weekend.

On the other hand, they may all have decided to become TV presenters instead. Or 'software developers and models', like Big Brother's Mikey.


M said...

I could be a software developer and model. I am that good looking.

Pepperpot said...

You are indeed. A poster boy for the Mac generation.