IT school curriculum overhaul fuels Oracle Java training course demand


Oracle claims the Government's shake-up of the school ICT curriculum has prompted more teachers to learn how to use the Java programming language.

Over the past 12 months, the software giant has been offering Java programming and skills training through its Oracle Academy initiative, which is used by secondary schools and higher education colleges to shape the content of their IT curriculums.

Teachers take part in a 10-week online course, as well as two in-class training days, where they will learn the basics of Java.

Oracle started piloting the Java training courses with 39 teachers from across the UK and Scotland, in July 2012.

Since then, the Government has embarked on an overhaul of the ICT curriculum that focuses more on teaching children how to write code and create applications rather than how to use them.

Speaking to IT Pro, Jane Richardson, director of Oracle Academy EMEA, said the company has seen a huge demand for the Java courses since their launch, and is now in the throes of hosting local events across EMEA for interested teachers to take part.

For instance, the company welcomed more than 100 teachers to its Java Fundamentals Teacher Training event at City University in London to tell them more about the programme earlier this week.

"We contacted 750 schools around London and advised them we were running a course for teachers [that would allow] them to develop their Java skills and contribute towards their continuing personal development," Richardson explained.

More than 170 teachers subscribed to take part, but Oracle said it was only able to offer places to 100 at this time, although it is planning to make up for this with further events throughout 2013.

Teachers that join the programme take part in a 10-week online course, as well as two in-class training days, where they will learn the basics of Java coding so they can teach it to their students.

Many of the teachers that opt-in to the programme come from an ICT or computer science background, Richardson explained, and use the course content to shape their lessons or in some cases to help run after school computer clubs.

Being able to code is a skill teachers will be under more pressure to master as the Government's sweeping reform of the school ICT curriculum begins to take hold.

It's for this reason Richardson believes the courses have proven so popular with teachers, as participation also provides them with 160 continuing personal development hours.

"Their motivation for taking part is many fold, with those from an ICT background seeing the changes in the curriculum driving them on to develop some computer science skills," she explained.

"Teachers coming to this from a computer science background see, with Java being such a pervasive programming language, that it is an important one for them to get trained up in."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.