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So Education Secretary Michael Gove reckons ICT is “boring and dull” and should be scrapped and replaced by computer science and more coding… brought in conjunction with technology businesses. There are already resources’ developed with Google and Microsoft.

tutorhubHmm. At first glance ICT (Information and Computer Technology) sounds fairly up-to-the minute to me. But then they hardly had a computer in the secondary I went to.

So what should kids learn about computing – and associated matters – these days? Will we teach them about social media – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, about game technology – what makes a Wii know how you’re moving, about commerce and the internet, about phishing, about privacy and a million other things that are now part of modern life?

The point is that the field is now so wide and fast moving that it is impossible to decide on a finite curriculum that covers what’s most important. Apart from anything that is likely to change from one term to the next.

So it isn’t such a daft and revolutionary idea to invite the firms that develop and sell this stuff into schools to teach kids how it works. At least the content would be up-to-date.

But if we follow this logic wouldn’t it also make sense to bring the big brands to the school gates for other parts of the timetable?

Would Nando’s and Findus like to introduce the latest eating sensations to our heath, food and technology lessons? Maybe that would be OK, but what if Pot Noodle wanted a slice of the action?

PE – or whatever they call it at the moment – that could come from Nike or Adidas. Maybe it would be GR8 if one of the phone companies would want to sponsor English.

Tom-tom the satnav people might put in an application to pick up the tab for geography. Hang on though; wouldn’t they be keen to prevent people from learning to read maps?

And Barclays and Lloyd’s might like to sponsor maths. That adds up? How about if it’s one of the shopping channels?

And outside of lessons, what if Weightwatchers paid for the new dining hall? Is their motivation for kids to learn to eat well?

So you see it’s not going to be straightforward. On the one hand it makes a lot of sense to tap into the innovation and expertise of successful companies, not to mention their large budgets. But on the other, the companies are only likely to get involved if there’s something in it for them, and that something might not be what’s best for our kids.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Sponsoring education – is it time to let business into our classrooms?”

  1. Jim Moffat

    The ICT curriculum probably is out of date and stuffy, but that is hardly surprising when it is taught in institutions that still see communication developments as somehow subversive. Mobile phones are banned and social networking sites, You Tube and other commonly used sites are filtered out. We need to look at ways of harnessing the technology that is currently used all the time in the ‘big wide world’ and stop regarding it as some kind of enemy! It seems teachers are scared of allowing the ‘normal’ stuff into the classroom, probably because they are way behind the children at the moment. There is a need for a real re-think and some proper training. The education world does not seem to be able to take a lead here, so why not allow sponsors in. They are probably the ones who know what is happening now, how to use it and where it is heading! Don’t be too afraid of business. They also may be trying to help prepare a generation for the future, rather than just find a route to a fast buck – after all, it’s in their interests too.

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  2. ellenarnison27

    Hi Jim, Well said. I totally agree. It must be strange for the pupils to have lessons that have little to do with the world they actually live in.

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