Technology must not be sidelined from national curriculum
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has welcomed the report into the ACARA curriculum review, and its consideration of the technologies & ICT learning area.
However, the ACS has expressed concern in the recommendation that the technologies learning area not be introduced until year 9. This recommendation, should it be adopted, would place Australian students at a significant disadvantage against students from the UK, who will be learning technology & ICT from the Foundation level.
Given the global nature of the Information & Communications Technology sector, the ACS believes it is critical that students are given, at the very least, education in digital literacy, including basic coding, from an early age, so that they are better prepared for technology education further along in their educational journey.
ACS CEO Alan Patterson said "It is pleasing to see the report also recognises that better professional development is required for teachers in the technology space. The ACS argued for this in our submission to the review, and stands ready to assist the Government in providing this additional training.
"While there is a view that ICT contributes to a crowded curriculum, the ACS will continue to argue that ICT is a fundamental and critical curriculum area that should form the core of the curriculum, along with numeracy and literacy, as the economy and jobs market becomes increasingly digitally focused.
"While it is good to see improved recognition of technology in the report, it stops short of recommending that students be given a technology education from early in their schooling life. By year 9, students will have already missed critical opportunities to build their digital literacy and capability.'
Two weeks ago "the ACS held our Young IT Conference, YITcon, in Melbourne. It was attended by almost 1 ,000 secondary and tertiary students over two days, and was a demonstration that ICT is a critical part of any education for the future. The overwhelming message from the leading industry experts, innovators and entrepreneurs who appeared at YITcon was that digital education, including basic coding, is an absolute necessity from an early age.
"If we don't step in today and start providing the right digital education from a young age, we are at risk of having a generation of school leavers who will miss out on the education they need to be the innovators, entrepreneurs and digital leaders of tomorrow. It is these students who will lead the economy in years to come. We owe it to them to give them the very best chance. Some of the recommendations are a small step in the right direction, but what our curriculum needs is a giant leap into the future.