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by Sofia Villegas
30 May 2024
John Swinney pledges to boost computing science education

First Minister John Swinney | Alamy

John Swinney pledges to boost computing science education

First Minister John Swinney has pledged to support computing science education as he says it is “vital” for Scotland’s future.  

The matter was brought up during FMQs by Labour MSP Daniel Johnson who asked the first minister if he agreed with recent comments by chief entrepreneur Mark Logan that the educational area was in crisis.

Speaking to the education, children, and young people committee yesterday, Logan said the latest figures added up “to a bad static picture” and claimed that working with Education Scotland to drive reform had been like “dragging a heavily sedated bull elephant backwards through cold treacle”.

Swinney said: “If Mark Logan needs a bit more assistance from the first minister, I will certainly offer it, and I know the deputy first minister (Kate Forbes) will be very keen to support on his efforts, because accessing computing science education for pupils is vital as an investment in the future of Scotland.

“And there is work that is being delivered to establish new courses – if my memory is right – with the University of Aberdeen to take forward these priorities.

“But I am very happy to engage with Mark Logan in that important question.”

Earlier this week, a report by think tank Reform Scotland revealed one in eight pupils attend a secondary school with no dedicated computing science teacher – equivalent to around 32,000 children.

The situation worsens in rural areas where there is educational “deserts” Logan said, with more than 50 per cent of pupils having no computing science teacher at all.  

Meanwhile, a further 25 secondary Scottish schools with more than 1000 pupils only have just one qualified computing science teacher working in their premises.

It is not the first time Johnson has brought up the issue in the chamber.

In January, he criticised innovation minister Richard Lochhead for failing to gauge the shortfalls in education which “underpin” and are “at the heart” of the tech industry. 

While debating the motion Scotland as a Technology Nation at Holyrood, he warned the issue could result in Scotland being “left behind” as a tech nation.

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