2 April 2015
BT has launched an initiative aimed at improving the technical literacy of young people in the UK. The company says it wants to reach five million children by 2020.
Announcing the new programme at the Mashable +Social Good Conference in London, BT’s chief executive, Gavin Patterson said: “We want young people to be confident with ‘computational thinking’, and aware of how technology and data are the foundations of today’s society. If we can achieve this, we believe that it will benefit both young people and our economy.”
He added: “We have a paradox in the UK. Young people are surrounded by technology yet so many are not tech literate.”
To help tackle this paradox, the new BT Tech Literacy programme will have an initial focus on understanding how parents, teachers and young people really think, feel and act about tech concepts.
BT will also commission nationwide research which will help design a new tech programme that meets real needs.
Another key component of the programme will be to help make sure teachers get better support.
To achieve this BT will fund workshops for another 1,000 schools and 6,000 primary school teachers this academic year. This will extend the reach of the government-funded programme which was planned to finish at the end of March 2015.
In addition the company will look into levels of connectivity in schools to understand the barriers and challenges they face
The BT Tech Literacy programme builds on the work the company has already been doing with the Barefoot Computing programme.
Teaching resources have been developed for use nationwide, and many BT people have volunteered their time to deliver training sessions for teachers.
Lots of other groups are working on different aspects of the tech literacy challenge – including schools, colleges, the government, not-for-profit organisations, campaigning groups and social networks.