CCEA reports few girls studying computer-related subjects

  • The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) has reported that few girls are choosing to study computer-related subjects at GCSE and A-Level.

    When CCEA introduced Computer Science as a subject to the core GCSE curriculum, it was hailed as a major step forward toward getting young students the skills they'll need to enter the tech industry. Uptake of the subject has been relatively slow compared to the more general ICT, however, with some schools not getting enough interest to justify running a Computer Science class.

    Those worst affected are all-girls schools, where very few students are interested in computer-related subjects, but all schools show a marked difference in computing interest between boys and girls. CCEA suggests that this disparity largely comes down to attitudes and stereotypes, which aren't being adequately tackled in schools.

    The study concluded that the stereotype that computing was a male domain was prevalent in schools, and that girls were often viewed as less capable in maths and technology related subjects. Girls were worried about being cast as 'geeks' for taking up the subjects, and felt that that the pressure for them to excel was much greater in those subjects than for their male counterparts.

    One key area of improvement that was identified was a lack of relatable female role models in the industry, with only 17% of the UK's tech workers being female. This is a problem that Northern Ireland's tech industry has been tackling systematically in recent years with significant success, thanks to groups such as Women Who Code and early education outreach programmes such as CoderDojos and industry-sponsored Code Camps.

    Source: BBC News

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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