Computing student numbers still falling
The number of students applying to study computing at university has fallen by 48% since 2001, according to a new report.
The report by Research Insights, shows that the number of students taking computing courses at higher education level has fallen by 22% between 2004 and 2007, putting it at its lowest level since 2000.
Study author Professor Lachlan MacKinnon believes the trend started with the dotcom bust which created an aura of instability around the tech world, but has been compounded by falling Government funding and the perceived difficulty of the subjects.
“We’ve got a growing IT sector, but are actually producing fewer students than 1996,” he says. “If we’re going to have a knowledge economy… we need the right sort of people to work it.”
MacKinnon says he is worried, that although the Government has made a commitment to keep the country globally competitive, current levels mean “we will lose that within the next one to two years because we don’t have the people.”
“We can turn this around with appropriate investment,” he says. “It must be a concerted activity by educators, government and industry to turn this around… if we don’t, we’ll see ongoing decline.”