The Educational Future
In May this year, the Scottish government commissioned Mark Logan, former COO of flight-booking company Skyscanner, to study the Scottish tech sector and how it could contribute to a post-pandemic economic recovery.
A demand for computer science to be regarded as an integral subject, such as math and physics, is among his 34 proposals, revealed last week. He also proposes incentives, along with steps to increase the volume and success rate of spin-out firms, for universities to create more homegrown software engineers. Logan also suggests that a new network of hubs be built for tech start-ups.
In the Scottish technology ecosystem, we asked three influential people what they think of the proposals….
Colin Hewitt, Managing Director, Float
I am glad to see the support of CodeClan and incubators such as CodeBase, and the investment of the ecosystem in events such as the Turing Festival and the EIE. More daily meetings, such as TechMeetup, Startup Grind and Product Tank, are also held.
I would also like to see universities sponsored each year to recruit more “entrepreneurs in residence” to draw talent from the global marketplace. The funnel also operates in reverse – as educators and mentors, we need more Mark Logans and Gareth Williams, and we are desperately missing that right now.
The other suggestion is that I see so many start-ups at board level being hampered by boards that drive them in the wrong direction and don’t help them get to where they need to be. For young entrepreneurs, board-level education and startups struggling with angels on their board who have very little tech experience is demoralising and distracting.
In the early days, we were really thankful for small grants in the form of Launch.ed and the Scottish Edge. The top of the funnel is these grants and we need more of them.
Jane Morrison-Ross, Scottish ISIS Executive Director
I support the Logan report strongly. We need to take a cross-system, global, strategic view of how we are creating a digital nation.
We can create a nation of confident, competent kids and young people if we get this right from elementary school.
This is not only about software engineering or computer science, it’s also about mathematics, innovation, critical thinking and building trust. It’s about giving a new name to computer science, bringing innovation back to engineering and integrating digital skills into each subject.
Let’s not underestimate our colleges and universities either: we have a national tertiary education network that can offer digital skills that are open and accelerated. We have an industry that is ready and able to work together and get behind it, and we have SDSs that are working hard to create progress.
In schools, in tertiary education, and between sectors and disciplines, we need to break down silos. An ecosystem is fine – it’s better for permaculture.
Stephen Ingledew, Managing Director of FinTech Scotland
Time for action”Time for action” Progressive, perceptive and essential to a thriving, creative technology environment are the realistic and action-oriented guidelines. Moreover, the report stands out as a blueprint that should be adopted by all government-initiated studies.
Much focus is rightly put on improving people’s technological skills and financing innovation, but it is also important to consider the importance of the “third leg” of the technology ecosystem, the infrastructure.
It will improve the innovation climate for both “homegrown” entrepreneurial talent from all generations and a globally diverse innovative spirit that thrives on the importance of inclusivity through advancing physical and virtual environments through infrastructure.
Mark Logan stresses the importance, rather than just individual steps, of enforcing the overall package of the study.
In order to accomplish this at both economic and social levels, the proposed Balanced Scorecard for assessing integrated progress would be an important accountability tool.
Please contact Stephen McDevitt, Head of Digital and Branded Marketing [email protected], if you would like to become a participant in our Future of Education series.