Budget boost for technology education

03 January 2018

Among some of the new measures to boost technology education announced in last month’s budget, chancellor Philip Hammond said the government planned to establish the world’s first national advisory body for AI.

Citing estimates in PwC’s The economic impacts of artificial intelligence on the UK economy study published in June, the government said AI could increase GDP by 10 per cent and benefit UK households by up to £2,300 per year by 2030.

The Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation will work with government, regulators and industry to lay the foundations for AI adoption, and set standards for the use and ethics of the technology and data.

The government will invest more than £75m to take forward key recommendations of the independent review on AI, including exploratory work to facilitate data access through ‘data trusts’.

In other initiatives, the government will invest £21m over the next four years to expand Tech City UK’s reach to become ‘Tech Nation’. This will support regional tech companies and startups, and roll out a dedicated sector programme for specialist innovations such as AI and fintech.

Regional hubs will be located in Cambridge, Bristol and Bath, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield, Reading, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff.

The chancellor also promised that the number of fully qualified computer science teachers will increase from 4,000 to 12,000. He said the budget will ensure that every secondary school has a fully qualified computer science GCSE teacher by committing £84m to upskill 8,000 computer science teachers by the end of this Parliament.

The government will also work with industry to set up a new National Centre for Computing to produce training material and support schools.