How can Britain address the digital skills crisis in schools?

“Addressing the digital skills crisis starts with our education system,” states the report from the House of Commons’science and technology committee this week which outlines what the group believes is required to tackle a chronic digital skills shortage in the UK.

As Relocate Global reported earlier this week, the committee said that employers were likely to need up to 745,000 additional employees with digital skills next year and, unless this demand could be met domestically, companies would have to start looking overseas for qualified professionals to bridge the digital skills gap.

Digital technology in schools

The report paints a picture of a technological revolution in schools in the UK over the last two decades, citing examples of classrooms complete with interactive white boards and tablets available for students. But, says Ofsted, differing investment levels across local authorities and school funding models means that the quality and extent of provision varies widely.

Not only that, while teachers might be willing and enthusiastic, only 35 per cent of ICT teaching staff have a relevant qualification and the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) calculated that 22 per cent of IT equipment in schools is ineffective.

Schools need more computer science teachers

The committee recommends that the government sets clear targets for the recruitment of well-qualified teaching staff in ICT.