Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne wants us Brits to lead the way in technology. Writing in the Observer today, he sets out a series of policies he hopes will help Britons top the world when it comes to tech. This is ahead of Campus Party -- a massive technology festival involving talks, Q&As and workshops -- which starts tomorrow and runs until Saturday at London's O2.
Osborne also reveals the coding skills he was taught as a teenager.
Like many others, Osborne was taught to code in Basic at school. He laments that this "golden era of coding" ended, and kids were taught just how to use programs like Word and PowerPoint instead of how to write code and make programs for themselves. "In other words," he writes, "students became passive consumers, not creative producers."
This was a mistake, Osborne reckons, because it misunderstood the nature of tech.
So what is he and the government doing about righting this wrong? Osborne says he wants to create an environment that digital entrepreneurs can thrive in. From September 2014, the new national curriculum will see students aged between five and 16 being taught how to make apps and write computer programs. Computer science teachers will face tough new requirements, and scholarships of £20,000 will be offered to graduates who choose that as a career.
Osborne also recaps on what other steps the government has taken, including entrepreneur visas, tax breaks for investment into start-up companies, and billions of pounds' worth of public sector IT contracts being opened up to British start-ups.
All well and good. But I'm not sure we're sending out all the right signals, considering our own prime minister doesn't understand the Internet.
Campus Party starts tomorrow. Guest speakers include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales (maybe he can have a word with Osborne about the PM's "absolutely ridiculous" porn plan), father of the Internet Vint Cerf, and Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.
Is the UK leading the way in terms of tech? Or are we being left behind? Let me know in the comments, or on our world-beating Facebook page.
Image credit: altogetherfool on Flickr