Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Computer science mooted for EBacc

Computer science could become a key subject of the English Baccalaureate

Computer science could be added to a list of key academic subjects that teenagers are encouraged to study at GCSE, Michael Gove has indicated.

The Education Secretary said the subject may become part of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc).

The suggestion came as Mr Gove announced that top graduates are to be offered up to £20,000 to train as computer science teachers on courses designed with help from Facebook and Microsoft.

Ministers have turned to the social networking giant and other leading technology firms in a bid to improve the quality of computer science teaching in England's schools.

Teenagers are currently awarded the EBacc, first announced in 2010, if they score at least a C at GCSE in English, maths, science, history or geography and a foreign language. But Mr Gove on Friday said that this could be extended to include computer science.

"Computer science requires a thorough grounding in logic and set theory, and is merging with other scientific fields into new hybrid research subjects like computational biology.

"If new Computer Science GCSEs are developed that meet high standards of intellectual depth and practical value, we will certainly consider including computer science as an option in the English Baccalaureate."

Ministers would have to consider whether computer science would be an additional subject for pupils to take, or could be an alternative to one of the subjects already in the EBacc.

Mr Gove on Friday announced that current ICT teacher training courses will be axed from next year. Instead, new computer science courses, supported by top technology firms such as Facebook, Microsoft and IBM, will be introduced.

Students who graduate from university with at least a 2:1 degree will be eligible for a scholarship worth £20,000 to train on one of the new courses, which have been set up with BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, said the Department for Education.

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