Are we smart enough for the digital future?

Could education be the stumbling block when it comes to Australia embracing the digital future? Could we end up with a ubiquitous high speed broadband network that we really don’t know what to do with?

In this week’s CrossTalk we look at the decreasing numbers of people studying engineering and science at University. Even at the TAFE level we’ve seen a shortfall in trained resources able to meet demands for the build of the NBN.

It’s seen as a significant issue by all of our guests on this week’s program:
• Alan Patterson, CEO of the Australian Computer Society;
• Patrick Fair, chairman of the Internet Industry Association;
• Mark Gregory, senior lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne; and
• Kevin Morgan, industry commentator and CommsDay columnist.

If it’s a recognised issue, do we have an answer? The Coalition’s paper on ‘E-government and the Digital Economy’ promises that they will work closely with States and Territories to reverse the deterioration in relative performance in educational outcomes and ensure extra funding leads to better outcomes. It doesn’t say how.

As you’ll hear, a lot has to do with how a career in ICT is sold to today’s young people. At the moment, perhaps, it’s just not sexy enough.

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