IT education staff go as NSW's MacICT teaching hub closes

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IT education staff go as NSW's MacICT teaching hub closes

The Department of Education has closed a pioneering IT training initiative with Macquarie University that supported IT and programming courses for NSW high school students for 15 years.

MacICT, the Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre, published an official communication from NSW Education and the university that announced the institute would merge with the Department of Education’s Futures Unit.

Calls to the MacICT office redirected to a voicemail stating the service had in-and-of-itself closed.

Unique as the only facility of its kind in NSW, the centre served as a teacher’s lab and resource centre for IT education and offered hands-on courses and coding bootcamps to students.

A report last month by Fairfax claimed that the majority of MacICT’s staff had left their positions. It also reported professional teaching services would remain available to educators but that student courses were in doubt.

The closure comes as student numbers in the primary, senior-student-focused IT courses enrollments have waned in recent years, with more than 10,000 students once enrolled in Information Processing and Technology, in 2001, falling to just 2855 in 2016.

NSW Education said MacICT manager Cathie Howe would help manage the transition, beginning in early 2017. It is not yet understood how the merger will affect the delivery of IT-related courses in NSW, though plans for the first half of the 2017 school year are as yet unchanged.

“Prior commitments to schools for delivery of professional learning during Term 1 and 2 2017 will proceed. Schools are encouraged to contact the Futures Unit for the provision of futures focussed learning / ICT professional learning from the beginning of Term 1 2017,” the statement read.

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