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Facebook ‘interested’ in backing Britain’s ICT education reform

Businesses urged to highlight skills issue

Facebook could be one of the next major technology companies to announce its support for Next Gen Skill's campaign to modernise ICT teaching in schools.

The government has today admitted that ICT education in schools is not fit for purpose in its current state, and Next Gen Skills, which launched today, is an industry campaign to promote skills needed for hi-tech growth in Britain and to develop industry-relevant computer science courses for schools.

It was created on the back of the Livingstone-Hope 'Next Gen' review, which recommends computer science be brought into the National Curriculum as an essential discipline.

Facebook's director of policy EMEA, Richard Allan, was present at the launch of Next Gen Skills and confirmed to Computerworld UK that the social network was "interested" in joining the campaign.

Alex Hope, co-author of the Next Gen review and MD of visual effects company Double Negative, called for companies to lend their support to the campaign in order to help force a new curriculum.

"We want them to join us and to highlight the issue, to get that message across to government.

"[We want companies] to take the opportunities they have to publicise this initiative and keep the dialogue in this domain. Only by doing that can we see change," he said.

Companies that have already announced support for the campaign include Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Talk Talk, Sega and the Guardian Media Group.

Andrew Eland, engineering lead at Google UK, explained why the search giant supported the campaign, at the launch.

"We really need a highly-skilled workforce and computer science is at the core skills of what we do.

"We need a strong pipeline [of skills] and [the lack of it] is massively affecting our development. We support the Next Gen Skills so that we can continue building new products," he said.

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