Knowledge curriculum 'pits pupils against computers'

Technology boss warns that a knowledge-based curriculum will mean pupils competing with computers in the world of work

John Roberts

Knowledge-based approach to learning is failing to prepare pupils for the future, warns tech boss

Teaching children a knowledge-based curriculum is setting children up to compete with the powerful computers of the future, MPs have been warned.

One technology company boss told a hearing today that a knowledge-based approach meant pitting children against computers rather than preparing them with the skills they will need.

At the Commons Education Select Committee hearing, chairman Robert Halfon asked whether the curriculum was preparing pupils for the "Fourth Industrial Revolution".

Brian Holliday, the managing director of Siemens Digital Factory, said: “My concern is that if we continue to pursue a knowledge-based approach to academia, we are setting our kids up increasingly to compete with computers – with devices we all use which are now 1,000 times more capable and more powerful than they were just 15 years ago."

Mr Holliday said there needed to be a debate about how we prepare primary school pupils for a world with devices which are 1,000 times more powerful than they are today.

Pupils 'will have to compete with computers for work'

He added: “We have to be much more focused on developing the creativity, imagination intuition, emotional and ethical skills that we look for when actually we started to assess people for world of work jobs.”

Joysy John, the education director at innovation foundation Nesta, also told MPs that the school curriculum was too narrow.

She called for an increased focus on inter-disciplinary learning and said pupils should learn about collaboration and problem-solving as well as English and maths.

Mr Holliday voiced concerns about the lack of work-based learning for pupils and teachers.

 “I see a curriculum that, whilst increasingly standardised, seems to be focused very much on key performance indicators for pupils and teachers. I see that actually leading to high levels of reported anxiety – stress for our children and teachers in the pursuit of knowledge-based learning," he said. "I do see an absence of applied learning opportunities for both teachers and schools and learning about the world of work."

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

Latest stories