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UK Government Offers Support For Game Industry-Backed Education Plan

The UK government has offered its support for a "Next Gen" plan of game industry-backed recommendations to improve computer science and information technology education in the country.
The UK government has offered its support for a "Next Gen" plan of game industry-backed recommendations to improve computer science and information technology education in the country. The 19-page response from the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is highly receptive to all 20 recommendations found in the "Next Gen" report, which Eidos Life president Ian Livingstone and Double Negative co-founder Alex Hope offered earlier this year at the request of Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey. "We are acutely aware that skills development is a crucial issue for the sectors if we are to build on their reputation and exploit the growing market opportunities," the response reads. "Next Gen sets out some compelling ideas for how the UK can be transformed into a world leader in video games and VFX." The response promises the Government is "committed to introducing a slimmed down, more focused, and more rigorous curriculum" for computer science education, as well as to improving the quality of computer science teachers through training programs and more selective hiring. The Government also offered support for video game development competitions, improved career guidance services and online resources for students interested in video games and visual effects careers. Ahead of the response this morning, game industry trade body UKIE announced it was teaming up with groups including Google, the British Computing Society and Abertay University to create a "Next Gen Skills" campaign that will continue to lobby the Government for this kind of support. "Computer games and visual effects are high-growth, high-value industries with the potential to drive Britain forward, increasing investment and exports, and repositioning the UK as one of the world's most creative nations," said Abertay University computer games education chief Dr. Louis Natanson. "Next Gen" co-author Livingstone told GamesIndustry.biz he thought the Government response to his recommendations represented a "quantum shift" in attitudes that "finally recognized that computer science is an essential skill for the 21st century." He added that current education in computer science and IT is "boring our children to death" and that without better education "we will not be able to build the Facebooks, Twitters and Googles in the UK."

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