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Facebook will back IT skills drive for kids In UK by batteryfast.com
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Facebook,
Cisco, Intel and Research In Motion are taking part in a
government-backed drive to improve young people's technology skills.

The technology companies have introduced training schemes as part of an
E-Skills UK push launched by science minister David Willetts in Tower
Hamlets on Thursday, which is designed to interest young people in
technology and science careers.



As part of the push, E-Skills UK has begun a programme of new GCSEs and
A-Levels that cover computational principles, systemic thinking,
software development and logic, to try to fill the UK IT skills gap.



"With technology and digital companies providing increasing
opportunities for employment, it is crucial that students are aware of
potential career paths but also have the skills needed by the industry,"
Willetts said in a statement.



Social-networking provider Facebook has launched a course with an
organisation called Apps For Good that will train young people to design
and create Facebook applications. Students must identify a social
problem and design software that attempts to counteract the issue.



Cisco said it will create Cisco Networking Academies in several schools
in Tower Hamlets. Students will be taught how to design and build
computer networks using the company's equipment. It already has similar
academies around the world.



For its part, RIM has started up BlackBerry Hands-On Workshops, in which
students will take apart BlackBerry smartphones to see how they work.
In addition, Intel launched a toolkit for teachers to create science
fairs.

Criticism



Several of the initiatives were criticised by open-source company Sirius
IT, which said the schemes favoured proprietary technologies and
promoted the marketing aims of North American technology giants.


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Criticism



Several of the initiatives were criticised by open-source company Sirius
IT, which said the schemes favoured proprietary technologies and
promoted the marketing aims of North American technology giants.



"Of course we should encourage young people in the UK to choose
technology as a career path, but we should be training them using
principles, not products, with full access to actual workings through
open source, not black boxes with proprietary [software]," Sirius's
chief executive Mark Taylor told batteryfast.com.



The spokeswoman added that young people would also have the opportunity
to be taught HTML 5, PHP and SQL coding for Facebook apps. The course
curriculum was co-designed by social-media company Techlightenment,
Facebook and Apps For Good.



Academic qualifications also got an overhaul on Thursday, with E-Skills
UK launching 'Behind the Screen' — a programme of new computing GCSEs
and A-Levels. The qualifications are designed to develop analytical and
problem-solving skills, and have been developed in conjunction with
businesses such as IBM, the BBC, Capgemini, Cisco, Deloitte, HP, John
Lewis, Microsoft, National Grid and Procter & Gamble. Teaching
materials and online student resources will be provided by the
companies.

The spokeswoman added that young people would also
have the opportunity to be taught HTML 5, PHP and SQL coding for
Facebook apps. The course curriculum was co-designed by social-media
company Techlightenment, Facebook and Apps For Good.



Academic qualifications also got an overhaul on Thursday, with E-Skills
UK launching 'Behind the Screen' — a programme of new computing GCSEs
and A-Levels. The qualifications are designed to develop analytical and
problem-solving skills, and have been developed in conjunction with
businesses such as IBM, the BBC, Capgemini, Cisco, Deloitte, HP, John
Lewis, Microsoft, National Grid and Procter & Gamble. Teaching
materials and online student resources will be provided by the
companies.





Conclusion:


"If the government were serious about the UK having its own tech
industry, it would promote open and home-grown, not train yet another
generation to use products built elsewhere," he added.



Facebook responded by saying it is "difficult to see anything bad" in
it encouraging young people to build Facebook-related products.



"It's not about building a future market for ourselves," a spokeswoman
for the company told ZDNet UK. "This is about us, participating with
Apps For Good, to upskill people in the UK."

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