Today we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the World Wide Web and to coincide with this Code.org is launching a campaign to bring the joy of coding to every student and every classroom in the UK.
Technology changes everything. If you look back over the past 25 years the pace of change has never been faster and this is down to constant technological invention. The UK has played a major role in this change but we are facing a crisis, a crisis of invention. If we carry on the way we have, we will not have enough people in the UK who understand the engine room of creativity and invention. That engine room is Computer Science. The numbers of computer science students graduating in the UK has halved over the past 7 years. Last year only 7434 students graduated. Both China and India produce over 300,000 computer science and software graduates every year. Closer to home, Poland, with roughly half our population still turned out 40,000 graduates.
Today the tech sector employs roughly 1.3million people, yet there are about 100,000 IT jobs we are unable to fill due to the lack of IT skills. This gap will continue to increase if we do not address it with a sense of urgency.
I am passionate about enabling opportunities for young people in the UK. I also want the UK to have a successful and thriving tech industry. To achieve those things, we need a workforce that is computationally literate, we need a workforce that can compete and be competitive on a global stage.
The UK is a nation of inventors, it is a nation that creates ideas and helps bring them to life. The UK needs to have a successful and thriving tech industry and enable opportunities for young people in the UK. To achieve those things, we need to encourage and inspire our children to use, love and invent with technology. We need a workforce that is computationally literate and can compete and be competitive on a global stage.
One way we can do that is to ensure computing is on the curriculum. We are pleased to see the government adopt recommendations the industry has been pushing for and we want to play our role in empowering teachers and children alike. We have two ambitions:
1. Every school leaver must be computer literate. Not just fluent users of computers, but they also need to understand the principles of how they work, be able to write simple programs confidently, apply computational tools in whatever they choose to do in their careers or further education
2. 80% of all jobs that require computer science knowledge should be able to be filled by a UK graduate
Our primary objective at the moment is to help as many teachers as possible get ready for the new curriculum. We have already provided free teaching materials through our partnership with education publishers rising stars.
Today I went to a school in Westminster to launch the UK’s “Hour of Code” and enable teachers, parents, students and politicians to “have a go” through hands on coding activities. In the US 26million people signed up for the US hour of code – how many of us in the UK can be inspired to “have a go” too?
Let’s celebrate 25 years of the world wide web, let’s celebrate technology and let’s celebrate our nations creativity. Please go to http://uk.code.org/