FutureFive NZ - University offers IT course in high schools

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University offers IT course in high schools

An Australian University is working to encourage senior high school students to take up careers in IT, offering an entry-level computing course in a bid to shake off the perception of the subject as dull and nerdy.

The course, offered by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, will involve watching lectures online or via a DVD, and attending weekly tutorials. If students go on to study at UNSW, they receive full credit for completing the course.

Brad Hall, development manager for UNSW’s School of Computer Science and Engineering, says the extracurricular offering is a genuine University-level course that hasn’t been ‘watered down’.

"The objective is to excite and challenge high school students,” Hall says, "and to prepare them for University-level study and change their perception of the field.

"We want students to know that University-level computing is very different to high school information processes and technology, or software design and development, and we hope that many students who have never considered computing as a degree or career will see that it’s a very creative and stimulating choice.”

Potential students must be given permission by their high school to take the course. Hall says while a certain level of academic ability is important, particularly in maths, the faculty is also looking for students with passion.

"A big part of their application is the section where they tell us why they want to study computing.”

Auckland University also offers a computer science course to high school students as part of its Young Scholars programme. Go here to find out more.

Do New Zealand institutions need to do more to change the perception of the IT industry among students? Post your comments below.

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