A tenfold increase in computer education funding is needed or an entire UK generation will fail to have the technology skills needed for the future, according to a new report from The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of sciences.
The report, After the reboot: computing education in UK schools, was led by Steve Furber, ICL Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Manchester and co-funded by Microsoft and Google. It found that over half of schools in England do not offer a computer science GCSE, leaving many young people without experience in coding or programming.
According to Microsoft, it is estimated that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet, and these will require skills in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The Royal Society said that over £60 million of additional funding needs to be invested into computing education over the next five years to prepare the next generation with the skills they will need. This would give the computer science the same support as maths and physics.
“Microsoft is dramatically scaling up its digital skills programme in the UK and we believe now is the time for the Government to do the same,” said Cindy Rose, chief executive of Microsoft UK. “The risk, if we don’t make these investments now, is that too many young people struggle to access new opportunities, and the UK loses its advantage in a world being transformed by technology.”
The report also found that the UK meets only 68% of its recruitment target for entries into computing teacher training courses, lower than physics and classics.
For more information, download the full report: After the reboot: computing education in UK schools