The Logan Review 2020, a report commissioned by the Scottish Government, highlights the need for Computing Science to be a major growth subject in Scotland to accelerate the growth of the Scottish and global tech ecosystem. This is to reverse a national trend which has seen a significant and worrying decline in the number of pupils taking SQA qualifications in Computing Science in recent years which highlights a significant gap in the skills required within the Scottish tech industry now and in the future.

What can the education sector, schools and industry do to reverse the trend?

The problem is circular, in that a lack of pupils taking Computing Science in schools leads to a decline in graduates, which leads to a decline in new teachers, so the subject is no longer offered. To crack this problem, we need to break the cycle.

Robert Gordon’s College, in collaboration with university and industry experts, is offering a solution via the launch of a new external online learning service for students aged 16 and 17 to help them understand how and why technology is going to underpin so many careers in the future.

RGC Online offers students across the country the opportunity to study Higher Computer Science and Higher Mathematics being taught by teachers from Robert Gordon’s College. An important component of the new service is to offer live teaching, and deeper learning than the traditional curriculum, complemented by additional modules in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Software Engineering and Entrepreneurship which are not currently part of the Scottish educational curriculum. The modules have been established with the support of strategic partners from industry and universities based in the UK and the USA to further extend the knowledge of students and align with the needs of the global tech sector where technology is going to be immersed with health, food supply, finance, tourism, law and many new sectors that will emerge in the decade ahead.

Offering a new way for students to learn the foundational skills in computing science and mathematics, irrespective of their location, is an important step forward in the delivery of education that better aligns with the skills shortfall identified in the Logan Review.

New study options, like RGC Online, will equip the next generation with the skills and knowledge to prepare them for a career in Scotland and the wider global tech ecosystem.