ICT: How To Drive The Car (But Not How It Works)

There’s a mixed picture of the UK’s technological advancement presented by two government reports today. According to Ofcom, though we are behind on 4G and ‘superfast’ broadband adoption (greater than 24Mbps), we are the greatest online shoppers in Europe and the biggest users of the mobile Internet on smartphones. But according to Ofsted, we are failing to teach young people about technology in any useful way.

Where ‘Information and Communications Technology’ or ICT is taught (despite being compulsory in the curriculum, it isn’t taught in 20% of senior schools), it isn’t taught well. Pupils are apparently not stretched and few teachers have the capacity to teach anything beyond the basics.

The picture I draw from these reports is this: we are great consumers of technology but we are not equipped to produce it. This has serious implications. Having lots of people who can drive a car is useful in an economy. But nowhere near as useful has having people who can design and build them.

If the UK is to ever pull out of the current financial mire, at least in any long term sense, we need to start making stuff again. Given the state of the British car industry, we really need to start teaching our young people how to make digital stuff…