'It is a criminal oversight not to teach our children coding', says IT entrepreneur

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The delivery of the first batch of Raspberry Pi computers on 20th April will provide educators with massive opportunity to correct the 'criminal' neglect of computer technology in our schools according to Gary David Smith - co-founder of Prism Total IT Solutions.

The Raspberry Pi - designed by academic and IT industry volunteers to inspire an interest in coding among young people was launched by the Raspberry Pi Foundation earlier this year at a cost of 16. The computer is supplied without monitor, keyboard or mouse and runs a freely available operating system and a 'start-up' educational coding tool. Children are expected to cut their coding teeth largely through creating their own games and functions. "I have always been astonished that basic computer literacy and coding are not part of our schools curriculum," said Gary David Smith. "I believe that the Raspberry Pi or a similar product should be available to all our children."

"The Raspberry Pi has demonstrated that there is a hunger amongst young people to engage with coding and programming. There is nothing to stop one of the IT giants from producing a similar product even cheaper," said Mr Smith. The full scale of production of Raspberry Pi machines has collapsed twice: the first time because incorrect components were added to the circuit boards and the second time because of a problem with electromagnetic testing. "I believe that safeguarding Britain's computing heritage should be a government sponsored programme," said Gary David Smith. "Currently the ITC taught in schools is more to do with how to use programmes rather than how to create them. The web has democratised business opportunities: if you can code and understand programming you give yourself a huge advantage."

"There is a great deal of talent in Britain and the high-tech industries are the ones most likely to be able to create the growth and new jobs that the government craves," he said. "I'm from a Cheshire town that has witnessed its textile businesses go bust and all the mills be turned into apartments. I, for one, do not want to watch the same thing happen to British IT businesses."

Britain has recently experienced a startling drop in the number of students achieving IT qualifications there was a 57% decline between 2005 and 2010. Last year, on a trip to the UK Eric Schmidt - CEO of Google - said: "I was flabbergasted to learn that today computer science isn't even taught as a standard in UK schools. Your IT curriculum focuses on teaching how to use software, but gives no insight into how it's made. That is just throwing away your great computer heritage."


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