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NESTA: UK Education, Game Industry Misaligned
NESTA: UK Education, Game Industry Misaligned
December 13, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

It's claimed that there is a great deal of misinformation in the UK about what kinds of educational backgrounds are needed to pursue a career in video games -- and the worrying info gap was the subject of a new poll done by IPSOS-Mori on behalf of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).

The survey covered 550 young people, 900 parents and 400 teachers alike in the hopes of taking the pulse of awareness on games-related education, and found somewhat disappointing results.

The largest percentage of responders choosing a single option -- 30 percent of students, 18 percent of parents and 44 percent of teachers -- think an Information and Communication Technology (ICT, a wider superset of IT) background is most relevant to video games.

Bad news, according to UK trade site Edge Online, because that subject focuses more on presentation and communication software, not programming skills. NESTA's survey says that only 22 percent of ICT teachers know anything about how to program.

The survey is part of an effort to inform the UK government about ways to strengthen the region's game development talent base, and NESTA and Skillset are collaborating on numerous aspects of this Review on Skills for Video Games and Visual Effects.

In 2008, NESTA warned of a "severe skills shortage" in the UK, and in August of this year, UK trade body TIGA found a "worrisome" drop in A-level computing university applicants, plus a lack of diversity in the applicant base that could point to further shortages down the line.

As it lost its battle for tax breaks earlier this year, the UK's video game industry continues to be concerned with how it can keep up and participate in the global market alongside budgetary and staffing challenges.

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