Microsoft identifies ICT education gap


New research by Microsoft has identified that 58% of UK students believe they have a better understanding of technology than their ICT teachers.

The research has identified that the majority of students believe they are learning more about IT outside of the classroom.  The Microsoft Education Future Workforce research found that ‘Generation Five’ (16 to 18 year olds currently in education) question the approach taken by schools, with 58% believing that they have a greater level of understanding when it comes to IT, than those charged with educating them.  

These results reveal a major concern for businesses if schools are not equipping students with the appropriate skills for future employment. If the issues are not addressed now they will be felt in years to come as the current students enter the workforce, says Microsoft.

The study, commissioned by Microsoft, aims to highlight the importance of skilling tomorrow’s workforce and engaging with today’s schools and businesses to ensure the next generation integrate their IT skills into future organisations.

 For the first time ever, there are now four generations at work: the Traditional Generation (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980) and the Millennial Generation / Generation Y (1981-1999), which creates unique challenges as each generation has its own characteristics, aspirations and preferred work styles. With Generation Five due to enter either higher education or the workforce over the coming years this latest research highlights the need for schools to skill future employees with IT skills within the classroom.

Steve Beswick, Senior Director for Education, Microsoft UK, said:  “There is an imbalance between businesses, schools and students in how we’re learning, what we’re teaching and what is needed in the workforce

“Students nowadays embrace new technology and ways of communicating from a variety of guises, via social networking, smart phones and gaming consoles, and thus have become the most innovative digital natives of our generation. The skills and enthusiasm they have for technology should be encouraged and it is interesting that students feel they’re learning more in their own homes than within the classroom.

"We need to work closely with parents, schools and businesses to collaborate and encourage the integration of technology into every classroom and teaching resource."

The research also revealed that 56% of 16 to 18 year olds rate themselves 5 out of 5 in confidence in basic IT skills and 71% agree that they learn more of what they know about technology outside the classroom. The majority of students (85%) also believe that the internet outside of their school provides the most important source of information about technology.

December 2010

School Leadership Today