"The proposals for the 14-19 reform in education will finally provide students with the ICT skills that are now a pre-requisite to most chosen career paths," said Pete Bayley, a former teacher and director of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) in the UK for the British Computer Society. "The proposed new examination structure will offer pupils a broader choice in their studies as well as strengthening basic skills, with an emphasis on developing vocational skills, such as computing, as well as academic ability.
"The British Computer Society particularly welcomes the decision to include Information Communications Technology (ICT) as a 'core' section of the new diploma," he added.
"For many years, students have entered the workplace with insufficient ICT skills; computers having an ever-increasing role in society so it is important that everyone now obtains these basic skills at an early stage in their education."
David Burrows, Microsoft's director of education in the UK, also welcomed the proposals: "The IT industry already needs 30,000 extra qualified people. Reform of the vocational system, removing the artificial divide between academic and vocational qualifications, will enable every student to achieve the best possible qualification for them and help business close the skills gap."
Read the interim report at: www.14-19reform.gov.uk
* Mike Tomlinson has been appointed non-executive director with ICT supplier RM. He fills the gap created when Professor Tim Brighouse stood down earlier this year. He said: "I firmly believe private-sector companies, delivering a wide range of services, have a key role in the development of education in the UK."