The Royal Society in Great Britain has just released a ground-breaking new report called Shut Down or Restart: The Way Forward for Computing in UK Schools which clearly demonstrates that the current challenges we face in K-12 computer science education are indeed global challenges..
The work behind this impressive report was carried out by the
Computing at School project which did a comprehensive review of
computing in UK schools. According to the Royal Society, the key points
of the report are as follows:
1. The current delivery of Computing education in many UK schools is
highly unsatisfactory. Although existing curricula for Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) are broad and allow scope for teachers to
inspire pupils and help them develop interests in Computing, many
pupils are not inspired by what they are taught and gain nothing beyond
basic digital literacy skills such as how to use a word-processor or a
database. This is mainly because:
a. the current national curriculum in ICT can be very broadly
interpreted and may be reduced to the lowest level where non specialist
teachers have to deliver it
b. there is a shortage of teachers who are able to teach beyond basic digital literacy
c. there is a lack of continuing professional development for teachers of Computing
d. features of school infrastructure inhibit effective teaching of Computing
2. There is a need to improve understanding in schools of the nature
and scope of Computing. In particular there needs to be recognition that
Computer Science is a rigorous academic discipline of great importance
to the future careers of many pupils. The status of Computing in schools
needs to be recognised and raised by government and senior management
3. Every child should have the opportunity to learn Computing at
school, including exposure to Computer Science as a rigorous academic
4. There is a need for qualifications in aspects of Computing that are
accessible at school level but are not currently taught. There is also a
need for existing inappropriate assessment methods to be updated.
5. There is a need for augmentation and coordination of current
Enhancement and Enrichment activities to support the study of Computing.
6. Uptake of Computing A-level is hindered by lack of demand from higher education institutions.
The text of this report is licensed under Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike and you can download the entire
It is well worth reading.