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Schools still don’t invest in digital skills for teachers

Schools are becoming more and more important in the development of digital skills, but they seem to be lacking initiative and making enough investments. This is what Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by the software company MapR reveal, ComputerWeekly reports.

The FOI requests show that about one third of schools in the United Kingdom alone are not investing in training and developing of digital skills for their teachers. This means they can’t provide the needed basics for the students in order to cut the times needed for training and preparation for a career.

Most IT companies have been calling for the introduction of proper coding classes in schools as they see coding as a basic skill for the future. This will also let students see the specifics of coding earlier which will ease their decision to continue developing in the area or seek something else. It will also help produce qualified coders much sooner and easier which is what the business desperately needs.

“Last year the government pledged £3.5m on new curriculum training. But this information shows that it’s simply not being filtered down so that every young person has a trained teacher. It’s shocking to see such a huge discrepancy in what was said in the run-up to the election compared to what these promises have translated to on the ground”, Paul Tarantino, director at MapR Technology says.

Even the schools which do invest in training their teachers do so with very small sums. Just 22% of the asked schools do indeed invest in training teachers and they give more than 3000 British pounds for that. 33% on the other hand spend between 500 and 1000 Pounds and 11% spent just between 100 and 500 Pounds. The rest are the non-investors.

More than half of the schools train three to four teachers for their computer classes. 34% – prefer to train one to two and 11% trained five or even six teachers. According to MapR these variations will lead to inconsistent standards of computer lessons since children will have different learning experience. Of course not all schools are focusing on computers with some preferring different sciences and professions which is fine.

The problem is that even more general or focused schools are lacking the needed teachers. You can’t have the needed quality employees if you don’t have anyone to teach them first. A recent survey even points that almost half of students think their teachers need more computing training. Teachers themselves admit they are not fully clued on the new computer subject.

So the problem with digital skills training and combating the lack of them has to first be tackled by making enough trainers. The problem is who to teach them and the investments needed. It’s like a vicious circle. One that Coursedot is aiming to solve with its marketplace which allows easier access to trainings.