Google has shown its support for the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s proposed reforms in technology education for high school students.
The search giant said it is “heartened” to see the curriculum for digital technologies updated so that it encourages students to become “creators and innovators of the future”.
“We must ask ourselves: do we wish to be a nation of creators of technology— or just consumers? We’re already among the world’s heaviest users of tablet devices and smartphones—but knowing how to play games on a tablet is not the same thing as knowing how to create them. One costs money; one generates money,” Google wrote in its submission cover letter to ACARA.
“Globally, the demand for computer science and computational thinking skills only continues to accelerate. The technology sector worldwide holds huge potential for the creation of high-value jobs and wealth; the tech startup sector alone in Australia has the capacity to contribute $109 billion directly to GDP and create 540,000 new jobs by 2033.”
Google recommended making digital technologies a compulsory subject through to Year 10. The subject is only compulsory through to Year 8, according to the curriculum draft paper (PDF).
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has also said it would like to see the national curriculum in technology extend mandatory study to Year 10.
“Australia needs to move up the value chain of IT and the more senior level of study in Year 10 would only assist that,” said ACS head of policy and external affairs, Adam Redman.
Redman said he would like to see how the ACARA is going to support teachers in rural areas who may not have the resources or expertise needed to implement the technology curriculum.
In March, Google announced it is providing funding to 12 Australian universities this year to develop workshops that help high school teachers promote computer science in their curriculums through its Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) program.
Google suggested that the curriculum should also include making students more aware of the job opportunities in digital technologies, and instructions in at least one general programming language.
“Australian students with tertiary computer science skills are falling in number and make up just two per cent of the total of domestic graduates.
“An introduction to computational thinking in early years provides the strongest possible pathway for students to engage with and excel in computer science, and benefit from the careers it enables.”