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Vaizey: Programming is a "vital skill for the 21st century"

"What I like about the Livingstone report is no demands for money"

UK culture minister Ed Vaizey has put his support behind the Livingstone-Hope Review, endorsing today's NESTA event calling for improvements in computer science education.

He told the audience of games industry and education luminaries that "I'm thrilled this report has emerged, it highlights the importance of videogames and special effects to our economy.

"This is actually a report for the whole tech sector, it's about equipping our children with up to date skills... We need to make sure there's the option to do computer programming in schools. It's a vital skill for the 21st century."

"We can use this report to start a revolution, building a partnership between education and industry."

The minister also observed that "what I like about this report is no demands for money," in contrast to continuing calls for games industry tax breaks from TIGA.

"We've got to get away from debate about resources," he later claimed. "Of course there's money out there. We should report again in a year." The success of the review, in fact, should be measured by "what the industry tell us in three or four years' time."

However, there was some consternation about the government Department of Education's engagement with the review. While the UK's secretary of state for education was not in attendance, Vaizey claimed that "I know Michael Gove is interested in this area."

Later in the event a member of Gove's office, minister for Higher Education John Hayes, did eventually appear, and acknowledged in a brief address that "We need to improve advice and guidance."

Echoing Vaizey's sentiments, he claimed that "resources are a big issue. But we are working to assist high growth sectors at the cutting edge via the innovation fund."

More to follow.

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Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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