Ed Vaizey outlines academia and games industry partnership

The boss of Sony UK has called for the government to help form a partnership between educators and the private sector in a bid to bring the games industry into the national curriculum, a sentiment echoed by Culture Minister Ed Viazey.

“The time is right now to do it,” said Sony UK boss Ray Maguire at the Learning Without Frontiers conference in London today.

“We shouldn’t wait too much longer. A collaborative effort is absolutely required, it needs endorsement at the highest level, it needs someone in government to say we will do this.”

Maguire, according to Gameindustry.biz which attended the event, noted that austerity measures and the recession may slow down technological progress in schools, and he felt games could contribute usefully to this. “We are deflated after the cuts,” he claimed, [but] “we’re looking for relevant opportunities for students and the teachers.”

He added: “There has to be a public and private partnership. Promote digital content creation as a career choice – it shouldn’t’ be ‘I want to be a doctor or a lawyer’, it should be ‘I want to be game designer’ as well.”

The event was conspicuous by the absence of Michael Gove’s Department of Education, which has so far shown little backing to the use of information technology in the workplace with the abolition of Becta, the government’s education technology agency.

Ed Vaizey was present, though no reason was given for the absence of the Mr Gove, and the Culture Minister was unable to verify who would be responsible for IT in the curriculum.

“What body is ultimately responsible for the introduction and delivery of a digital national curriculum? I don’t know.”

The BIS minister was able to broach upon what the government plans  areat university level stating that “We’re doing work with government to help make game design courses for universities.”

He revealed intentions for a possible initiative to build bridges between the world of academia and that of the games industry that would allow UK studios fund a trainee’s game development education at university. 

After finishing university the student would return to the studio for full time employment, enabling greater collaboration and stimulating growth in the sector, according to develop-online.

The theory is that the scheme would force stronger collaboration between the games industry and academia, whist at the same time stimulating job growth in the sector.

Vaizey pointed to the fast moving nature of the games industry and how that could be problematic for public spending, but declared that the potential to work with the games industry is enormous.