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ICT qualification ‘essential’ for all school leavers

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The lack of students leaving secondary school with Information and Communications Technology qualifications has been a concern for several years, however the Auckland Business Leaders Group says fixing it more urgent than ever.

The results from a survey of 61,000 secondary school students released this week found that less than 6 per cent had a qualification in basic ICT.

Auckland Business Leaders Group chairman Michael Barnett said this figure was far too low, and that the group would be pushing for this to change.

“[This] situation has to end, and quickly,” Barnett said. “Whether heading direct into employment or on to tertiary education, all school leavers should have an ICT qualification. I can see the day when universities will require … ICT competency as a condition of entry.”

In the survey around 80 per cent of schools indicating they offered courses leading to an ICT qualification, mainly in NCEA level two and three, but comments from those surveyed indicated ICT courses were seen as an easy option for students and may not have been taken seriously.

However with around 1500 ICT-based job vacancies in Auckland alone currently, having secondary students leaving school with ICT skills is set to become a bigger issue according to Barnett.

“ICT skills are part of every kind of job – from office, retailing to factory work. Confident, critical and creative use of ICT skills is now [as much] an essential passport for getting a job as reading, writing and arithmetic,” Barnett said.

SOURCE: NZ Herald

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