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Will Education and Workplace Learning ever resolve their differences?


Earlier this year the Royal Society issued a much anticipated report in to the state of Computing and IT teaching and assessment in maintained schools in England and Wales. The report highlighted a National Curriculum delivering IT literacy, and very little in the way of applied IT and almost nothing in the way of Computing Science.

That report was entitled 'Shutdown or Restart', and reflected the stark decision that the Department for Education needed to make regarding the future of IT and Computing Science educuation in schools. The DfE has consulted widely on the proposed changes, a consultation I was delighted to contribute to in order to better align education with employability.

It has long been a complaint of employers, that school leavers and graduates are entering the job market without the skills they need in order to be employable. Undoubtedly many employers set their sights too high and expect graduates to leave university as fully fledged professionals, capable of immediately being thrown in at the deep end of business. My own experience is that the consulting services firms in particular want graduates that are consulting, project manager, subject matter expert, commercially minded with excellent presentation and negotiation skills and 20 years of experience. In other words they want a 40 year old consultant at graduate wages.

Do these expectations place unrealistic goals on our education system, or have educators lost the plot in developing courses in contemporary klingon and media studies?

In November this year, The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group will be exploring this issue in an Oxford Union style debate to be held in London. The title of the debate being 'This house believes that academic education can never satisfy the needs of workplace learning'. If you have an opinion on this vexed subject, register your interest in the debate here:

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