Barnett: Technology in Britain Must Grow ‘Organically’

Emma Barnett, Digital Media Editor, for the Telegraph in the UK points out that Chancellor Osborne appears somewhat misguided in his attempts to fulfill his stated goal of making the UK, ‘Europe’s technology centre’.

“To be Europe’s technology centre we… need to have the best infrastructure”.

Ms Barnett points out that Silicon Valley grew organically without overt government control. If the Chancellor wishes to replicate similar success then the answer doesn’t lay simply in making sure that modern ultrafast broadband services are widely available, nor does it in extra governmental control. Such things happen because of individuals.

What really needs to be in place is the educational infrastructure to allow UK students become the Mark Zuckerbergs (Facebook’s founder) and the Sergey Brins (Google’s co-creator) of the future.

Without education reform aimed at helping gifted students become brilliant free thinkers and innovators, without dramatic improvement in teaching standards and quality of teachers, the UK will be left with only a high speed network and no-one to utilize the technology and have to remain satisfied with merely hosting technology firms from more successful countries.

Technological investment in the UK is important for business and the future of modern industry in the country. However government’s across the Western world cannot continue to ignore the simple fact that their most precious resource is their children, if they neglect the education of this resource for too long and continue to provide substandard education, they won’t achieve their goals. Perhaps it’s time they looked East and take note of the fact that the Japanese and Chinese booms were linked to a massive commitment to improving educational standards.

The Raspberry Pi is likely to do more to create a technologically successful Britain than anything in the Chancellor’s budget. There’s a saying in computer science that seem apt when examining the relationship between education of current students and future leaders: garbage in, garbage out.

Some of the most interesting technology advancements and companies, in a similar vein to Silicon Valley’s umbilical relationship to Stanford University, are growing up in and around the grounds of Cambridge University.
Consequently, vastly improved technology education, not enhanced broadband infrastructure, is the key to Britain ever becoming ‘Europe’s technology centre’.

03 22, 2012
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