Co-chairing for change
Box UK’s Head of Operations Stuart Arthur has lent his expertise to a new report on ICT education in Wales, featuring revolutionary and innovative recommendations that have the power to influence not only the future of ICT in schools but the industry itself. Stuart was selected to co-chair the specialist steering group that produced the Welsh Government-commissioned report as a result of his involvement in similar initiatives to strengthen ties between industry and education, as well as the vast experience of Box UK as an award-winning software development consultancy.
Comprising representatives from the Welsh government, the National Digital Learning Council, further education, higher education, and industry, the group discussed the future direction of Computer Science and ICT learning in schools; assessing the current education system in the context of ambitious end-goals, a changing digital environment, and the existing challenges this situation presents.
The recommendations included in the report, which has recently been launched at an event held at Box UK’s Cardiff office, aim in particular to address a shortage of ICT skills, a decline in the number of pupils choosing to take the GCSE ICT courses, and misconceptions of the industry. The vision is for Wales to become an ‘Agile-Digital nation’ capable of producing leading technology innovators and outstanding software engineers, making Wales a world-leader in computing and digital skills.
Calls for action include:
- The re-branding and re-engineering of ICT; making it relevant to now and the future
- The creation of a new subject named ‘Computing’, disaggregating into Computer Science and Information Technology, to replace ICT
- The introduction of Computing as the mandatory fourth science, with a digital literacy framework to run alongside existing numeracy and literary frameworks
- The adoption of an Agile approach to replace the current archaic and paperwork-heavy model of learning
- The technology-agnostic delivery of computing
Many of the report’s dynamic proposals were inspired by highly successful approaches already employed by Box UK. For example, the need for a technology agnostic approach was identified to combat the over-reliance on certain technologies that inhibits educational progress in schools. Technology agnosticism has long been embraced by Box UK to allow their development teams to respond to change quickly and positively; leveraging both new and established technologies through a process of constant up-skilling.
Agile and collaboration
The report also endorsed the use of Agile, an innovative framework incorporating regular feedback and flexibility and used to streamline Box UK’s own software development procedures, in an education context that will ‘transform the industrialised, static system into an empowering learning environment’.
An ethos of collaboration between industry and education, fostered by schemes such as Box UK’s coding Masterclasses for Education, has been recognised as ‘a model of engagement to take forward’, prompting the report to propose a committee made up of industry representatives dedicated to overseeing the implementation of the recommendations.
Preparing for the future
Speaking about the report Benno Wasserstein, Managing Director at Box UK said:
“Thanks to initiatives such as this steering group Box UK is able to share valuable expertise and first-hand experience to revolutionise out-dated approaches in the delivery of ICT and positively impact the number of school-leavers equipped to join what is an increasingly vital sector. At a time when digital literacy looks set to be a defining skill, both for the job market and the economy, education is crucial in shaping the future, which is why we are reinforcing our commitment to ensuring the industry is prepared with the capabilities it needs.”
About Box UK
Box UK is a team of thought leaders, consultants and application developers engaged in the rapid and precise design and delivery of high-performance software products and services for progressive enterprises worldwide.
Established in 1998, Box UK’s client list includes BBC, LAN Airlines, Investec Asset Management, the National Gallery, Chartered Institute for IT and EDF Energy.