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ACS Week in Review: 17 October 2014

Friday, 17 Oct 2014

Technology experts criticise school curriculum review

The praise for the federal government-commissioned school curriculum review has not been shared by the technology sector.

The review received wide acclaim when its report was handed down on Sunday, but on Monday, technology leaders were furious at the changes proposed for the teaching of technology in schools.

The Australian Computer Society said the recommendation to only introduce technology teaching in year 9 would "place Australian students at a significant disadvantage" against other students, particularly from Britain, who learn technology and ICT from the foundation level.

"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," ACS chief executive Alan Patterson said. 

Professional body says year 9 too late to learn tech

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) today welcomed the report into the federal government's ACARA curriculum review, but says certain elements are "concerning".

The government today announced it would be launching a review into the national curriculum but the ACS, an assocation for ICT professionals, has said it is concerned with the recommendation that the technologies learning area not be introduced until year 9.

It said in a statement that the recommendation, should it be adopted, would place Australian students at a significant disadvantage against students from the UK, who will be learning technology and ICT from the Foundation level.

The ACS said that given the global nature of the Information & Communications Technology sector, it s 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."

Curriculum review falls short on ICT, says ACS

The Australian Computer Society hit out at a recommendation of the government-commissioned review of the Australian school curriculum that the 'technologies' subject should be introduced at Year 9 as an elective for students.

"We note that there is a significant division of opinion, and little common agreement, as to what the curriculum of this subject area should contain," the review stated.

"We also note that it is a work in progress in almost every other country we have analysed. By and large it is not mandatory elsewhere, and certainly not in the primary years. We are persuaded by the views of the subject matter specialist that, in primary school, it could be introduced, in part, in other relevant disciplinary areas, with an integration of the two strands of design and technologies.

"While there is a clear case for the introduction of the ICT capability itself to run right though the whole Australian Curriculum, we are not convinced that a separate subject of the kind that has been designed needs to be mandatory at any level. However, it definitely should be an elective subject from lower secondary school onwards. Considerable professional development will still need to be provided for teachers."