A NEW REPORT from the Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has said that there is a need to boost the level of information and communications technology (ICT) literacy among teachers.
The report found that there is a significant gap between the ICT skills which are taught in our schools and those that are required to take up job opportunities in the technology sector.
According to a 2008 inspectorate report, only 25 per cent of post-primary teachers rated themselves as having intermediate or advanced IT skills.
Commenting on the committee report, Senator Deirdre Clune said it will be “impossible to further the development of computing within schools unless we have teachers who are capable of showing their students how to engage with the creative tools of ICT”.
The report also said that inadequate resources and broadband in schools are making the implementation of ICT strategies more difficult.
While the committee recognised the decision to include the option of studying short courses in computer programming as part of a new curriculum to replace the Junior Cert the report recommends making programming and/or computer science as much a part of the curriculum as languages.
The committee report also highlighted the importance of creating an accreditation system for ICT professionals.
“The benefits of creating an accreditation system with in the Irish technology sector include providing greater clarity for those who wish to pursue careers within the ICT sector, assuring a standard for companies investing in Ireland and raising the standard of the entire industry,” said Clune.
Among the report’s other findings and recommendations was a suggestion of the development of a Technology Visa for IT professionals that would enable highly skilled workers from abroad to fill temporary skills shortages in Ireland.
The committee estimated there are around 4,500 vacancies in IT skills across the country.