Home Government Tech Policy Proposed ‘axing’ of digital tech curriculum causes outrage

Proposed ‘axing’ of digital tech curriculum causes outrage

The Australian Council of Deans of Information and Communications Technology (ACDICT) has hit out at the federal government for what it says is the proposed axing of the national digital technologies curriculum for schools.

According to ACDICT the move by the government, if implemented, is nothing short of reducing the capabilities of school leavers to “second class citizens” on a global scale.

ACDOCT President Professor Iwona Miliszewska says Australia seems to be retreating with the curriculum at a time when the UK and other parts of Europe are preparing their primary school students for the future.

Expressing ACDICT’s “understandable dismay” at the proposed axing by the recent federal government-commissioned school curriculum review, Professor Miliszewska said the council had supported for years the “forward-looking national digital technologies curriculum for schools”.

“Cutting the development of fundamental computational thinking so necessary for the jobs of tomorrow is equivalent to reducing the capabilities of school leavers to second class citizens on a global scale.”

“This move (if implemented) will have long-term effects on student capabilities as well as our future economy that increasingly depends on digitally focused jobs.”

Professor Miliszewska says the proposed change is the more difficult to understand, “as only today did the government release its competitiveness blueprint”.

“The policy has international competitiveness and commercial innovation at its heart and, among other measures, it plans to champion new programs to enhance the standing of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in schools, and produce workers with the skills that industry needs.”

“Along with the ACS and Industry Groups, ACDICT’s Skills Action Plan has highlighted the shortage of ICT skills in the workforce. The Plan has stressed also the importance of the development of ICT skills in teachers, as the teachers are crucial to implementing the necessary computational and design thinking into the curriculum.”

According to Professor Miliszewska, by effectively relegating the ICT curriculum to later years, the incentive for teachers to lift their abilities for those formative early years will be removed and, she says, “this will be at odds with systems promoted in other developed countries”.

“It is most disappointing that the views of the Australian Universities, ACS, ACARA, industry bodies, and forward thinking developed countries should be disregarded and the Australian education set back in such fundamental ways.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).