University Professor Rejects Criticism of U.K. Graduates

| 24 Jun 2008 10:54

Professor Lachlan MacKinnon of Abertay University has criticized recent claims that improperly trained university graduates are having a negative impact on the country's videogames industry.

Frontier Developments Chairman and Games Up? spokesman David Braben made the claim last week, saying that a lack of university graduates with training in mathematics and computer sciences is hitting the industry hard. He pointed out that of the 81 videogame degree courses being offered by various U.K. universities, only four are accredited by the government oversight agency Skillset. "95 percent of videogaming degrees are simply not fit for purpose," he said, describing degrees from unaccredited programs as "a waste of time for all concerned."

But in a statement today, MacKinnon, Head of School for Computing and Creative Technologies at Abertay University, said Braben's argument shouldn't be painted with such broad strokes because there are universities doing a proper job of educating workers for the industry. He said that instead of making criticisms, the videogame industry should work more closely with U.K. universities to ensure that graduates are fully equipped to enter the industry when their schooling is complete. "What we need is better collaboration between industry and universities," said MacKinnon, who was recently commissioned to study the widening gap between the IT job market and available labor pool in the U.K.

"The need is not to generally castigate universities for failing to meet industry needs, but for industries to work with the universities to identify appropriate graduate outcomes that reflect these industry needs," he continued. "The danger if we don't follow this route is that industry demands that we train personnel to 'fit the mold' rather than educating graduates who can perform in a range of roles."

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