Design and technology students should focus on designing solutions to global challenges rather than creating products that often end up in landfill, one of the UK’s biggest education companies has suggested.
Pearson, which runs the Edexcel exam board, is calling for an overhaul of the design and technology (D&T) curriculum to reverse the decline in the number of pupils taking the subject.
The company hopes the new curriculum will shift the focus away from creating products that “could end up in landfill” and instead help students create sustainable solutions to key global issues such as climate change.
D&T students could look at challenges through digital design of services, as well as physical prototyping of products, Pearson suggested.
The Department for Education (DfE) said it is considering further steps to incorporate sustainability and climate change into D&T and the curriculum.
It comes as polls indicate that almost half (47%) of secondary school teachers and leaders believe that T&T modernization would benefit the curriculum.
A survey of 2,295 secondary school teachers and leaders in England by the app Teacher Tapp in January found that half would support the move to S&T to address global challenges such as climate change (51%) and preparing students for design in a digital future (49). %).
Sharon Hague, Pearson’s senior vice-president of UK Schools, said: “Design and Technology have provided valuable skills for young people in recent years, however, given the continued national decline in the number of people choosing the t -content together with increased costs associated with the current workshop. infrastructure and a shrinking teacher workforce, it’s no surprise that many people are advocating for change.”
She added: “While making will remain a central part of design education, our proposed new curriculum would add a focus on design for the planet, challenging learners to help create sustainable solutions to key global issues such as climate change and fewer products create. which could eliminate landfill.
“This could happen through the physical prototyping of products and spaces, but also through the digital design of services, infographics, apps, websites, marketing campaigns, laws, social movements, and more.”
Several organizations supported Pearson’s call for change in the S&T curriculum, including Google, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Design Council, and Let’s Go Zero.
Minnie Moll, chief executive of the Design Council, said: “Studying design at school is a vital talent, our research shows that seven out of ten of the 1.97 million people working in design have studied it at GCSE level.
“There is a very urgent risk to the future of the sector due to the decade-long decline in the number of students studying the subject.
“We need to inspire the next generation of designers if the UK is to be a thriving green economy.”
Julie McCulloch, policy director at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Design and technology is a subject that has been neglected by government for many years, sidelined in school performance measures that favor traditional academic. subject.
“This has contributed to a worrying drop in the number of pupils taking subjects which are vital to learning technology and innovation.
“It is a wise idea to shift the focus of design and technology to sustainable solutions.
“This is an area that young people are very interested in and this is where there needs to be innovation in the future in terms of the UK economy and the benefit of the world.
“The development of this new approach has clearly begun, but it is important to make clear what ‘design solutions that address global issues’ means and exactly what the content will be.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Design and technology can teach young people vital practical skills while encouraging their creativity.
“We are considering further steps to incorporate sustainability and climate change into the subject matter and the wider curriculum to help prepare students for a green future.”