Etopia - Mapping the World WE Want
about the role of Regional Strategic ICT advisers in the UK:
Debate on MirandaLink
Earlier in 2007 there was detailed debate on this topic on MirandaLink, started by a posting from Allison Allen, who has produced the following summary.
The MirandaNet community responded with a large number of posts to Allison Allen’s concerns about the redundancies amongst ICT advisers in the UK. What we found was that the national ICT community is observing a number of actions and attitudes which are raising urgent and serious concerns about the future of Strategic Technologies in education and impact on the Gross National Product.
The national ICT community is observing a number of actions and attitudes which are raising urgent and serious concerns about the future of Strategic Technologies in education and impact on the Gross National Product.
- The largest of the 33 London authorities has deleted its last educational ICT professional officer. Other strategic ICT functions have been moved into corporate services and taken the funding with them
- At a recent meeting where 12 London authorities were represented, more than 6 (>50%) reported similar actions were in the pipeline
- There is a similar picture in LAs across the country which will have a serious impact on delivery of the Strategic Technologies programme from April or July 2007
- BESA and those whom they represent are concerned at the impact on suppliers, product development and the international market
- ICT is now the lowest of the National Strategies11 priorities
- Continuing professional development is being "encouraged” to die
Attitudes towards ICT and Strategic Technologies, particularly amongst leadership, do not seem to be maturing yet as hoped.
- “Learning” is not included in the education White Paper. ICT is not explicit in the ECM outcomes and crucially, the funding is no longer ring fenced
- ICT is still seen as only a classroom subject and not even a mainstream one
- In a cash crisis it is easy to receive a message that ICT is not important. “Deletion” of ICT related activity is justified as “having least impact” or “not important”. ICT is still too often seen as something which “gets in the way”
- This is true of LAs and schools - even where there is a history of sound ICT investment.
The risks of losing the “ICT cognoscenti” at LA level and beyond are widespread and likely to affect all stakeholder groups – schools and teachers, national strategies, product and service providers including BSF, education and children’s services practitioners.
The implications are
- Loss of strategic ICT advisers and their guidance to schools, the LA and suppliers
- Loss of those who can ensure best value and intelligent procurement, particularly in BSF
- Reduction of the home ICT product development market which will impact on sales abroad and thus UK plc itself
- Reduction (or loss) in the use of strategic technology to enhance and support learning
- Reduction and loss of ICT skills nationally(both functional and design), raising further concerns in the light of the Leitch report
It has been noticed that, in local authorities where LCT there are already no ICT advisers, knowledge and awareness of new technology is weak in school representatives and the ability to aggregate and procure effectively is fragmented.
Compared to other curricular areas and tools, ICT is a young discipline.
Allison Allen ( )