More students taking ICT GCSEs, but 98 percent still shun tech subjects

ICT and Computing GCSEs attracting more students but most favour traditional subjects

The number of students studying the GCSE for ICT has risen for the third year running, but 98 percent of all students are still shunning technology courses at secondary school level.

Figures released by the Joint Council for Qualifications showed that the number of pupils sitting the ICT GCSE has risen from 69,234 in 2013 to 96,811 this year.

Since 2011, the number of pupils studying the subject has increased year-on-year, more than doubling from the 47,128 pupils sitting the exam that year.

The number of pupils gaining grades A* to C in ICT has declined this year, dropping from 69.4 percent in 2013 to 66.4 percent this year.

A gender gap between the number of males and females studying ICT remains prominent. While both sexes are showing an increased interest in the subject, more males still sit the exam that females.

This year 55,346 males sat ICT compared with 41,465 females indicating the gender divide that the IT industry has been scrutinised for starts at a grassroots level.

The more coding-focused Computing GCSE has also seen a strong increase in student uptake.

This year, 16,773 students sat the exam, quadrupling from the 4,253 that studied the subject last year, when it formed part of the ICT GCSE.

Despite these positive figures, the general participation in IT-focused subjects at GCSE level remains low when compared with other subjects.

Out of the all the pupils studying GCSEs this year only 1.9 percent of the total number of exams sat were ICT and 0.3 were Computing. Comparatively, 5.4 percent of the exams sat were Religious Studies and a further 14.2 percent of the total exams sat were Mathematics as a GCSE.

While the steady increase is in uptake is positive, when V3 reported on A-level results last week, we found that the number of students studying IT subjects at A-level had declined, with less than 10,000 students sitting the ICT A-level exam.

This raises the question as to whether technology subjects and skills are seen as valuable when secondary school pupils begin to consider further education.

In order to address concern over the lack of IT skills threatening to damage the technology industry, the UK is pursuing initiatives to encourage more interest in technology subjects.

An overhauled curriculum for England will be in place by September to make it mandatory to teach children basic programming and algorithms in an effort to improve the teaching of digital skills at a young age.

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21 August 2014 | 11:53 am – Source: v3.co.uk

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